The Local Government Association has revealed that there are concerns around the number of clean energy projects that are awaiting construction, despite being granted planning permission.
Due to delays in the national grid, communities are being forced to wait years for the delivery of solar and wind farms, leading to the Local Government Association (LGA) to call on the government to accelerate its plans to connect energy schemes to the grid. There are also urges for the government give councils the resources that they need to develop local energy plans, allowing them to share investments and develop local grids.
One example of the issues being faced can be seen in Coventry, where plans have been submitted for a solar energy farm. With the current inhibitions, this farm would not be connected to the grid until 2028. This concern is matched in Dorset, where it seems to have become almost impossible to connect to secure grid connections, meaning that some projects are being told that they can’t be connected until 2036.
The LGA’s environment spokesperson, Cllr Linda Taylor, said:
“Our transition to a secure and sustainable future relies on continued growth in renewable energy.
“It’s fantastic to see a rapid rise in planning permissions for green energy projects. However, the numbers awaiting construction is concerning, with many pointing to delays in securing the grid infrastructure that connects solar panels to kettles.
“It’s a big challenge and there is a huge effort underway. Councils want to play their full role but resources and powers for local energy plans to shape the grid investments so essential to a secure and sustainable future.”
Due to environmental ambitions, councils have increased the number of clean power schemes that have been granted permission, with these including solar, wind, water, biomass, waste sewage and hydrogen projects. These have the total to generate 9,000 megawatts of energy at any one time.
Despite the LGA stating that communities have approved of more than 1,300 renewable energy schemes, only 150 of them are currently under construction, meaning that there’s a shortfall in the amount of renewable energy being generated. The number of solar schemes that are awaiting construction alone, according to the LGA, would provide enough energy to power 1.9 million homes.