UK takes action on connection gridlock
December 21, 2023

Mahmoud Elkazaz

In common with many other countries around the world, the UK’s queue for grid connections has become highly congested in recent years. New initiatives by the country’s regulator – Ofgem – and the UK Government are taking action to resolve the gridlock.

 End of the road for “zombies”

“Zombie” grid connection projects – proposals that take up a place in the grid connection queue with little chance of being completed – are being actively removed under a new initiative by the UK’s energy regulator.

Announced in November 2023[1], Ofgem’s action enables projects that are stalled or simply speculative to be ejected from the queue. Previously, the queue for grid connections was managed on a first-come, first-served basis – effectively blocking the route to connection for more viable projects.

The overall aim is to shorten the time it currently takes for developers to get a connection, which can be two to five years or longer. This timescale creates problems for developers who need to build and connect their projects quickly to make them viable and attractive to investors.

Milestone targets set

Under the new regime, the UK’s electricity system operator – the National Grid – will be empowered to set milestones for developers and to terminate the project if they are not met. The proposed milestones are outlined in the ‘Connections Action Plan’, jointly published by Ofgem and the UK Government’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.[2]

Eight milestones are indicated in an Ofgem-approved modification to the Connection and Use of System Code (CUSC), CMP376.[3] Timelines will be calculated for each case. Projects with long lead times, such as offshore wind projects, will be allocated more time.

M1Statutory consent and planning permission initiated
M2Statutory consent and planning permission secured
M3Land rights secure
M4(Applies only where a connection requires interfacing with the TSO. This is not covered by CMP376.)
M5Contestable design works submitted
M6Construction plan agreed
M7Project commitment

Table 1: OFGEM CUSC CMP376, Page 8.

Grid capacity increases

Coinciding with the Ofgem initiative, the UK Government announced a Transmission Acceleration Plan.[4] The plan is based on the 43 recommendations in a report from the Electricity Network Commissioner Nick Winser.[5] Recommendations include fast-track planning approvals, streamlined regulatory approval and payments to communities affected by infrastructure development. The plan is complementary to Ofgem’s initiative.

Implications for developers

For developers of renewable generation and other energy projects that require a grid connection, the implications of the plans are clear. Projects must be clearly viable and achievable within a strict and realistic timetable, or the projects may be removed from the connection queue.

How PSC can help

More than ever, successful projects depend on robust planning and assessment of a project’s needs. Our consultants can help to ensure projects meet regulatory and other challenges that are constantly evolving.

PSC has a team of experts who are able to help in the preparation and submission of the Grid Connection ENA G99 Application, besides carrying out high Level Capacity Screening for potential locations for new power plants.


[1] OFGEM, ‘Ofgem announces tough new policy to clear ‘zombie projects’ and cut waiting time for energy grid connection’. November 13 2023,the%20queue%20with%20no%20consequences.%E2%80%9D

[2] OFGEM/Dept for ESNZ ‘Connections action plan: speeding up connections to the electricity network across Great Britain’. November 22, 2023.

[3] OFGEM, CMP 376, November 13 2023.

[4] Dept for Energy Security and Net Zero, ‘Transmission Acceleration Plan’. November 2023.

[5] Dept for Energy Security and Net Zero, ‘Accelerating electricity transmission network deployment: Electricity Networks Commissioner’s recommendations’. August 2023.