All the firm connection capacity on the Lewis and Harris grid has been allocated, members of the Comhairle’s Sustainable Development have been informed.
“Consequently,” councillors were told, “potential projects currently cannot obtain a grid connection until 2013 at the earliest, when various transmission system reinforcements should be complete, unless existing contracted generation drops out.”
The Director of Technical Services pointed out to members that Registered Power Zones (RPZ) had been introduced by OFGEM in 2005 to try and stimulate innovative ways of connecting and operating generation capacity.
“Of specific interest to the Outer Hebrides,” said the Director, “is the potential to actively manage the local network, thereby better matching supply with actual demand instead of being constrained by the current limit of minimum summer demand plus inter-connector export capacity.”
He pointed out that, to date, three RPZ schemes had been registered.
“The scheme that is most relevant to the Outer Hebrides is RPZ 2, which is delivering an active management system on Orkney and is being developed by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE). The project is expected to result in an additional 15MV of generating capacity becoming available to developers on a constrained connection basis,” said the Director.
He stated that last month the Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company had arranged a meeting between representatives of SSE and various community and private organisations who hope to establish generating businesses in the Outer Hebrides.
At the meeting, SSE explained that they hope to receive the results of their field trials in Orkney early this summer, and expect to be in a position to offer constrained connection offers to developers in the Outer Hebrides, through a Registered Power Zone, late this year.
Councillor Angus McCormack of Plasterfield, who called for the report, told the meeting: “It is an opportunity for local community groups throughout the Outer Hebrides to get into the grid.”
He asked Martyn Tulloch, Head of Energy, Coastal Zone and Special Project Services at the Comhairle, if the Council could take advantage of this procedure to get into the system.
Said Mr Tulloch: “I would be very surprised if they don’t try to get a connection through those means.”
15 February 2007
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