A NEW north to south electrical spine could be created and used to allow green energy generated off the coast of Scotland to be transported to England as part of a £60 billion plan, according to a new report.

The study from the Electricity System Operator (ESO), the organisation which runs the network, said the new infrastructure could carry electricity produced off Peterhead to Merseyside to meet growing demand across Scotland and the north of England.

However, it also said the proposal was “an early-stage option which will require further consideration and consultation”.

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The ESO report said an additional £60bn would need to be invested in the grid by the end of the decade to ensure it can supply the power.

It did add however that 20,000 jobs could be created in the largest build-out of the network for seven decades with nine in 10 of those jobs outside of London and the south east of England.

It said: “Great Britain is about to embark upon the biggest change to the electricity network since the high voltage transmission grid was established back in the 1950s.”

It further called for “swift and coordinated” progress, without which the country’s climate ambitions could be at risk.

It comes as a new report from the Climate Change Committee said the level of emission reductions needed for Scotland to reach its 2030 target is now “beyond what is credible” to achieve.

The report warned new connections and more capacity will be needed as people switch to using electric cars, for example.

However, the new forms of generating energy – such as wind and solar farms – will also change the way the grid is shaped, it said.

It continued to say that the grid of the future will source electricity from locations spread across the country to take into account different weather conditions.

For instance, it may be windy on the west coast but not the east and so having turbines in both places can keep supplies more constant.

However, this means the grid will need to reach places where it previously only had small capacity.

The report explained there will have to be 86 gigawatts of offshore wind in Britain’s waters alone, up from 14GW today.

That will help to satiate a jump in demand for electricity. The UK’s needs are expected to rise by around 64% by 2035, and double by 2050, the ESO’s report said.

“Investment in renewable energy generation has exceeded investment in transmission capacity over the past decade, resulting in bottlenecks on the electricity network,” it said.

This means that “energy is being wasted as the grid cannot transport to where it can be used”.

For example, if wind turbines in Scotland are producing more electricity than Scotland can use or export elsewhere, the grid has to pay wind farms to switch off some of their turbines.

According to the UK Wind Curtailment Monitor, this cost the grid just short of £600 million last year.

However, the construction of new wind and solar farms can often be met with opposition from local community groups with the UK Government recently suggesting communities impacted by new infrastructure should be given “substantial” financial incentives to win local support.

A UK Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson said: "These are preliminary plans published by the Electricity Systems Operator (ESO). Any projects taken forward would be required to progress through a robust planning process.

“Over 40% of our electricity is now from renewable sources – up from just 7% in 2010.

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"To keep up with growing demand, work to reinforce the grid would connect more low-cost offshore wind and low carbon energy, helping to future proof our energy supply, reduce bills and bring the UK closer to our net zero goals.

"This would also support over 20,000 jobs and help deliver around £58 billion of investment in the grid through the 2030s.”

The Scottish Government has been approached for comment.