GCP takes ground-breaking approach to secure future of electricity network

GCP takes ground-breaking approach to secure future of electricity network

Published: Friday, March 19, 2021
A photo taken by aerial drone, over Kings Parade in Cambridge City Centre

The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) is taking a ground-breaking approach to ensure the security of future electricity distribution across the area.

Demand for electricity is set to triple across Greater Cambridge by around 2031 from expected growth in housing and jobs – and also through steps being taken across the country to meet our ‘net zero’ carbon commitments, including moving to electric cars, battery-powered buses, and the removal of gas as a home energy source.

The GCP is exploring what needs to be done to ensure the future electricity network has the right capacity in the right places to distribute power – both from the national grid and from clean local generation such as solar farms. This work includes assessing what reinforcements are needed for the distribution network - especially in the south of the GCP area which is further away from existing supply points – and when they need to be ready to meet this demand.

Each area in the UK has a company responsible for electricity distribution, but their operating regulations mean they can only invest when electricity demand is confirmed – risking delays and extra costs to green growth and net zero carbon projects – so GCP is taking on the assessment now so a plan can be made to tackle any issues, ensuring the right investments are made at the right time. By planning ahead, improvements to local electricity distribution can be ‘forward funded”.

At their meeting yesterday (18/3/21) the GCP Executive Board approved an extra £200,000 to support further work to engage with the electricity distribution market and then develop an Outline Business Case.

Cllr Neil Gough, vice chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership Executive Board, said:

“We want to make it easy for developers and those wanting to adopt green technologies to be able to do so. Therefore the GCP is considering how additional electricity distribution capacity can be provided ahead of need.

“Once the distribution capacity is in place, developers and net zero carbon projects can connect up more quickly and easily than would otherwise be possible.”

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