The Greater London Authority (GLA) have recently warned about restrictions on the approval or implementation of planning permissions in the London Boroughs of Ealing, Hounslow and Hillingdon.
Most homes, commercial premises and industrial developments receive their electricity supply via connections to electricity distribution networks.
Distribution networks serve new demands for electricity including electric vehicle charging points, electrified heating systems e.g. air source heat pumps and data centres. The GLA advise that data centres use the equivalent electricity as towns or small cities.
The owner of the distribution network in the affected areas, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) operate a first come first serve process for connection to the distribution networks for which a fee is payable.
These capacity constraints have led the GLA to advise that new applicants for electricity supply may need to wait for 13 years for a connection. This is because network upgrades will take many years to complete due to complex technical feasibility requirements.
With no immediate solution in sight, what steps can developers take to secure their planning permissions or development proposals in the affected boroughs?
The GLA are seeking to find an innovative and transformative change to the electricity network alongside SSEN, National Grid and other stakeholders to overcome the acute electricity shortage. This may include the development of wind turbines, solar panels and embedding carbon neutral/passive house design principles in development proposals.
Whilst electricity capacity issues are for now limited to three West London Boroughs, the move to net zero means that electricity demand is set to increase by approximately 50 percent by 2035 because of a shift from fossil fuels to electricity as the primary fuel in the transport and building sectors.