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Insufficient electrical capacity until 2035

One of the things that you need to do when you’re constructing a building is arrange for new utility connections. Sometimes there’s enough capacity to support what you’re building and sometimes the capacities need to be upgraded (which usually becomes the responsibility of the developer).

But according to this recent Financial Times article, some new applicants in west London are now being told that there won’t be “sufficient electrical capacity for a new connection” until, oh I don’t know, maybe 2035. And it could affect all new housing projects with 25 or more units.

This is a pretty wild piece of news. And it certainly won’t be good for overall housing supply. The three west London boroughs that are being impacted by this capacity issue were responsible for about 5,000 new homes between 2019-2020. That’s about 11% of London’s total housing supply.

So what and who is to blame for this? The Greater London Authority is saying that data centers are at least partially responsible. Too many new data centers in the area with high electrical loads.

I don’t know exactly what is going on here (maybe some of you do), but now feels like a good time to turn our attention to solar power. I recently visited a large 3,000 panel rooftop installation here in the Greater Toronto Area, and so naturally there is a blog post in the works. Stay tuned.

4 Comments

  1. Myron Nebozuk

    A residential solar array can run your coffee machine and a smallish stereo for a while each day. Then the battery needs to be recharged. It certainly can’t run a full sized refrigerator or any other appliance 24/7. You and I will have to look elsewhere for a solution that doesn’t add to our collective anxiety.

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  2. doug pollard

    Well the whole world is transitioning to alternate sources of energy including solar and has been for some time. Solar has proven to do a lot more than make coffee. The world, in general, is also electrifying and that includes cars and bus fleets and more so electric demand will only go up. Of course, I do not know who to “blame ” (interesting choice of words Brandon) but yes data centers gobble up buckets of energy although they too are improving steadily. Apple and Google and Microsoft etc. are major purchasers of green energy, however, (in order to offset their energy appetites and give themselves a green profile) and that energy is sometimes produced locally and sometimes far away (Texas is the major wind energy state in the US.. wind machines replacing oil donkeys) and sometimes a combo. Perhaps the energy hogs in London’s case should be financing a few wind installations somewhere and/or looking at improving their efficiency

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  3. doug pollard

    I thought I would add an example
    In 2020, Google signed the largest battery-backed solar power deal to power a $600 million data centre in Henderson, Nevada, just south of Las Vegas. Under the agreement, the company will combine energy from a 350 MW solar plant with 280 MW of battery storage to power the Henderson data centre.

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