Rights issue-funded adaptation of existing network is planned to create about 5,000 new jobs

The National Grid plans to raise £3.2bn from shareholders to upgrade the national power network to take more energy generated by renewable sources.

About £22bn will be invested over the next five years upgrading and adapting the existing network so that it can handle the planned change in generation mix. As well as overhauling the existing network it will also involve extending the grid to connect to newly built off-shore wind firms and the new raft of planned nuclear facilities. The investment should create about 5,000 new jobs.

Steve Holliday, chief executive of National Grid said: “We are confident about the requirement for a step-up in UK investment. We have sized this rights issue at £3.2bn to ensure we will have the financial flexibility to meet our investment needs over the coming years, whilst maintaining our current single A credit rating.”

The National Grid’s preliminary results for the year ended 31 March 2010 were also released today and reveal profits of £2.2bn, up from £1.4billion last year.