Supplying electricity to the National Grid

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The National Grid connects power stations and major substations and ensures that electricity generated anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales can be used to satisfy demand elsewhere.

National Grid’s North West Coast Connections (NWCC) Project will be one of the largest investments in infrastructure in our area in the last 50 years. It means that power from the proposed new nuclear power station in West Cumbria – known as the Moorside projectas well as other new energy generators coming forward along the coast, can be transmitted into the main National Grid and on to UK energy consumers.  



  • Potential new job creation involved in the development and installation of the new grid
  • An improved grid will mean that future energy producers can connect and export energy through the grid, also a reliable fast broadband connection will allow businesses to locate in the area.


  • Superfast broadband can be carried through the new infrastructure.
  • Security of supply for areas where the grid connection is intermittent


  • An environmental impact assessment will be carried out prior to construction to assess and determine the least intrusive means possible.
  • The rationalisation of the grid will lead to the potential to reduce the number of towers and connections in some areas.


Who’s involved?

The project is designated a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP) that affects all the UK.  Copeland Borough Council cannot make final decisions about NSIPs. The final decision lies at government level with the Planning Inspectorate. 

We are one of a number of councils that have signed a Planning Performance agreement (PPA) with National Grid. In this document, we agree to help National Grid compile the evidence they need to apply to the Planning Inspectorate for a development consent order (DCO). In return, National Grid agrees to fund all costs we incur in doing this work.  


Signing the PPA does not mean that we agree with any of the proposals. It is not the role of Copeland Borough Council, or any of the other local authorities involved in the PPA, to make sure the NWCC Project happens. Our role is rather to ensure that the right level of engagement and scrutiny takes place so local views are properly captured throughout the planning process so the Planning Inspectorate can make a fully informed decision. 

How’s it going?

After working with local authorities and organisations such as Natural England and the National Trust for a number of years, in May 2012, National Grid launched an initial technical consultation on six broad options - known as Strategic Options - it had identified as presenting solutions for delivering the connections needed for Moorside and the other new energy generators coming forward. 

We responded to this consultation, giving our opinion on which of the routes we would prefer to see implemented in Copeland. The consultation closed in July 2012. 

Having taken on board the views expressed during this consultation, National Grid announced in October 2012 that it had decided to take two of the options forward to the next stage of the development process. Both of these options would see the creation of a power ring that connects into the existing electricity network near Carlisle, runs round the West Cumbrian coast line before continuing south into Lancashire. These options provide National Grid with the opportunity to continue exploring a range of different technologies to deliver the required connection. 

National Grid is now assessing these two options to identify potential route corridors where its new equipment could be located. Work is focused on looking for onshore routes to the north of Moorside where there is the potential to follow the path of existing low voltage power lines which are operated by Electricity North West Ltd.

To the south of Moorside, National Grid is also considering routes where there is the potential to follow the path of existing power lines, as well as studying possible routes offshore through the Irish Sea and a tunnel under Morecambe Bay.

Once the work to identify and develop potential route corridors is complete, National Grid will consult local communities on the routes it has identified.  


Consultation events will be publicised in advance and people will be able to meet with members of the NWCC team to discuss the Project in more detail and provide their views on the potential routes that have been identified. These views and comments will be taken into account by National Grid when it comes to deciding which routes to take forward to the next stage of the development process.

Find out more

Find out more about the North West Coast Connections Project and what happens next. You can also register for regular e-mail updates on the National Grid site.





Published: 20 August 2012 - 2:21pm