The energy regulator Ofgem is preparing to rewrite the rules governing access to Britain’s electricity network in a bid to cut the queue of renewable generators seeking access. But proposals to make the rules more flexible to allow wind farms quicker access to the network could face opposition from existing power generators.
Transmission companies can offer connections if capacity exists but not all the capacity is being used all the time, and the regulator is looking at the possibility of allowing more capacity to be connected to take advantage if some has been bought but is not actually being used. Under such a “connect and manage” system, if too many suppliers wanted to use the system at the same time, some would be “constrained” – blocked off – and paid compensation.
Gaynor Hartnell, deputy director of the Renewable Energy Association, said action was badly needed. “The queue can be so long firms are finding their planning permission has expired before they can build and connect their projects.”
The European Union has directed that renewable projects should be given priority access. “We are not bothered about getting priority access,” she said, “provided we get speedy access.”
2 June 2008
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