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UK takes action on connecting renewable power to the grid

25 Aug 2009

New rules to revamp the way power plants get connected to the UK’s power grid have been introduced by UK Energy and Climate Secretary Ed Miliband.

The shake-up will help new projects looking to feed electricity into the grid, and in particular help renewable energy projects such as wind farms, the DECC said.

There is currently over 60GW of new generation capacity – around 200 projects – that are waiting to be connected to the grid, including around 17GW from renewable sources.

As part of the government’s Low Carbon Transition Plan in July the government would reform the previous system of projects getting a connection date on a first come, first served basis regardless of when the project would start generating energy. This meant some wind farms were given connection dates years after when they were due to start producing electricity.

The proposed scheme will also give investors confidence that projects will be given a connection date that fits in with their project development timeline.

Miliband said, ‘Access to the electricity grid has been one of the key barriers to the generation of renewable energy in this country. We are determined to resolve this issue. That is why we took powers to do so in the Energy Act and today we are setting out our proposals.

‘We need these new projects to get hooked up to the grid as soon as they are ready – both to help tackle climate change and secure our future energy supplies.

‘The government will do whatever is necessary to bring about the transition to a low carbon economy and to give investors the certainty they need so that new renewable energy generation is built,’ he added.

The Government will be making the detailed reforms to grid access rules that are necessary to overcome the delays. Previously, reforms were proposed by industry and then approved or rejected by the UK energy regulator, Ofgem.

Ofgem has already approved interim arrangements to help new power stations connect more quickly, and under these interim arrangements around 1GW of renewable projects in Scotland have already been offered earlier connection dates. However this was only ever intended as an interim measure and the government is intervening to ensure enduring access arrangements are put in place by June next year.

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