Large-scale ground-mounted solar panels(c) Golbal Warming Images/Rex

Renewable energy development in the South West faces delays of three to six years due to new restrictions.

Western Power Distribution (WPD) has called a halt to all new high-voltage grid connections, as a key route on the network has hit capacity.

New renewables installations in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Bristol docks that want to export power to the grid will be affected.

In a briefing on its website, Western Power Distribution said the 82km so-called “F-route”, which is due to be overhauled by 2020, had reached its current limits.

See also: Weigh up your renewables options

“This means that we now have to apply restrictions to our connection offers,” the statement said.

Merlin Hyman, chief executive of not-for-profit industry body Regen SW, said a lack of strategic investment in the grid over recent years had led WPD to bring in the restrictions.  

He said distribution network operators in other parts of the UK could be forced into similar action.

“The impact in the next two to three years is it is going to slow down the amount of new renewables not just in the South West but across the country,” Mr Hyman said.

“But in the mean time there are some things that we can do to mitigate the impact – for example, to better use of existing pipelines and innovations in home use, such as storage.”


 

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