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Miliband moves to address wind farms' grid connection woes

Energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband today unveiled new proposals to tackle delays to grid connection. Hold-ups have left some UK wind farm projects facing waits of up to 14 years before they can start delivering power to the grid. Under the current system, new energy projects are given a connection date on a first come, first served basis, which has resulted in about 200 projects with more than 60GW of generation capacity awaiting connection.

Government sets out proposals designed to shorten lengthy grid connection waiting lists

Energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband today unveiled new proposals to tackle delays to grid connection. Hold-ups have left some UK wind farm projects facing waits of up to 14 years before they can start delivering power to the grid.

Under the current system, new energy projects are given a connection date on a first come, first served basis, which has resulted in about 200 projects with more than 60GW of generation capacity awaiting connection.

The problem has been particularly acute for wind farm developers, who are typically able to complete projects far quicker than coal or nuclear power plants but have been reluctant to apply for grid connection before receiving planning permission for their projects. As a result, many wind projects have been completed on schedule, only to be stuck in the queue for connection for several years while conventional energy plants are connected to the grid instead.

Miliband admitted that "access to the electricity grid has been one of the key barriers to the generation of renewable energy in this country", and vowed that the government was... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Government sets out proposals designed to shorten lengthy grid connection waiting lists

Energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband today unveiled new proposals to tackle delays to grid connection. Hold-ups have left some UK wind farm projects facing waits of up to 14 years before they can start delivering power to the grid.

Under the current system, new energy projects are given a connection date on a first come, first served basis, which has resulted in about 200 projects with more than 60GW of generation capacity awaiting connection.

The problem has been particularly acute for wind farm developers, who are typically able to complete projects far quicker than coal or nuclear power plants but have been reluctant to apply for grid connection before receiving planning permission for their projects. As a result, many wind projects have been completed on schedule, only to be stuck in the queue for connection for several years while conventional energy plants are connected to the grid instead.

Miliband admitted that "access to the electricity grid has been one of the key barriers to the generation of renewable energy in this country", and vowed that the government was "determined" to resolve the issue.

"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," he added. "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."

Under the new proposals, which were published today for consultation, the government has set out three potential new grid connection regimes, each designed to accelerate the grid connection process.

The first "socialised" model would see the cost of all new connections spread across all users of the network, allowing wind farm developers to apply for a connection date earlier in the project development phase without the risk of being hit by grid connection fees if the project is then delayed.

The second "hybrid" model would see some of the cost of connection spread across all users of the network with some of the cost retained by the new power station, while the final "shared cost and commitment" model would provide developers with the option of committing to having a new power source ready by a set date in return for greater certainty over connection fees.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said the government was now seeking feedback from industry on which approach to adopt.

She added that each of the models would add just £1 a year to annual average domestic energy bills and would give grid operators the flexibility necessary to ensure new renewables projects are connected as they come online.

The new regime is also expected to replace the interim arrangement that recently saw Ofgem relax the rules governing grid connection. Under the changes, National Grid was permitted to offer 1GW of Scottish projects earlier connection dates in return for commitments from wind farm operators that they will throttle back output at certain times.

In related news, Oxford City Council has become the first council in England and Wales to announce plans for a commercial-scale wind turbine as part of a Carbon Trust-backed project to promote renewable energy projects on public sector land.

The council said it was investigating installing a single turbine near the Horspath Road athletics track, with the aim of submitting a planning application by 2011.

Councillor John Tanner, board member for a Cleaner, Greener Oxford, said the project, which will be paid for by the Carbon Trust-backed Partnerships for Renewables, will deliver both environmental and economic benefits to the city.

"The City Council owns the land, Partnerships for Renewables will pay for the development costs and we will receive an annual payment for the benefit of taxpayers and the community," he said. "At this stage we want to put up a test mast to see if the wind power is really there as we believe it is."

In an early attempt to address any opposition to the project, Tanner insisted the turbine would have a minimal impact on the local environment. "Wind turbines are quiet, graceful and not a threat to wildlife," he said. "Compared to ugly electricity pylons, wind turbines are a huge improvement for Oxford's environment. The real threat to our countryside locally is not wind turbines but climate change."


Source: http://www.businessgreen.co...

AUG 25 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/21896-miliband-moves-to-address-wind-farms-grid-connection-woes
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