£4.7billion is needed immediately to upgrade the electricity grid network to accommodate new power generation by 2020, according to a report published by the Electricity Networks Strategy Group (ENSG).

The report, which was produced by the industry under the supervision of the ENSG, says connecting up to 35GW of renewable and up to 10GW of new nuclear power will require a major upgrade of the electricity networks.

The report also concluded that work needs to start now to upgrade the existing grid and includes proposals for high voltage subsea cable links between Scotland and England.

Up to 1,000 km of new cables will be needed to ensure new renewables and nuclear power stations can be connected to the electricity grid, in what is said to be the largest single expansion of the grid since the early 1960s.

The UK needs to generate around 30% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, as well as encouraging the development of new nuclear plants, as part its commitment towards a low carbon energy supply.

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.

“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.”