A report published today by the Electricity Networks Strategy Group says 1,000km of new cable will need to be installed in the largest single expansion of the grid since the early 1960s.
The report says connecting up to 35GW of renewable and up to 10GW of new nuclear power will require a major upgrade of our electricity networks.
It concludes that work needs to start now to upgrade the existing grid and includes proposals for high voltage subsea cable links between Scotland and England.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Mike O'Brien said: "This report marks the start of the electricity grid's makeover to accommodate new low carbon power generation which is needed by 2020.ADVERTISEMENT
"This is a massive long term investment opportunity and this upgrade work will help support jobs across the low carbon economy.
"Having a grid which is fit for purpose is vital for our ambitions to cut carbon emissions and increase security of supply."
Regulator Ofgem has announced it intends to approve the funds needed to begin the pre-construction work on specific transmission projects that are due to start work soon. Ofgem is continuing to develop proposals to make the regulatory regime capable of meeting the challenges presented by the 2020 renewable energy targets.
Ofgem Chief Executive, Alistair Buchanan, said: "Getting the right electricity infrastructure in place so more renewable generators can connect is critical if the UK is to meet challenging new renewable targets.
"Ofgem has been proactive in this area by approving major increases in investment in the electricity networks, including the ВЈ5 billion for network upgrades and renewal between 2007 and 2012.
"The industry report proposes the use of technology so far unused in this country. This demonstrates a willingness to consider innovative solutions which could lead to faster build times and avoid the need to secure planning permission for onshore lines. We will continue to work with the industry to develop appropriate incentives to encourage efficient and effective innovation."
CBI construction chiefs back council house building plan
For some, starting a small business is Plan B
Kingspan calls for more spending on ‘greening’ existing buildings