Britain has done a great job of decarbonising its power generation sector but it is doing a lousy job of powering up its grid. Electricity consumption is expected to double by 2050 if the goal of net zero carbon emissions by then is met, but the UK grid can barely handle current needs and entrepreneurs are being told new connections for power-hungry businesses will take up to seven years. The FT paints a depressing picture of infrastructure planning that entirely fails to match the moment. A midlands metals fabricator who wants to be part of the solution by installing enough solar panels to be self-sufficient is told he’ll have to contribute £3 million towards grid upgrades and wait till 2032 to plug in the panels. Spare a thought for whisky distillers facing a ten-fold increase in electricity demand to produce steam without fossil fuels, and British Steel, now Chinese owned, hoping to switch to electric arc furnaces which each consume as much power as 200,000 homes. There is an alternative in hydrogen, but that too has to be made with green power. A whole new level of ambition is required.
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