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United Kingdom

Disingenuous to blame Ofgem

The author writes: Your article series on electricity transmission and wind power (Windpower Monthly, February 2007) commented on the UK moving towards a "connect and manage" approach to accommodating new applications from generators for access to transmission wires. This is clearly the right way to go.

Your article series on electricity transmission and wind power (Windpower Monthly, February 2007) commented on the UK moving towards a "connect and manage" approach to accommodating new applications from generators for access to transmission wires. This is clearly the right way to go.

Unless it happens the provisions in Article 7 of the European Union's renewable energy directive, that deal with priority access to the wires, dispatch of renewables and operational guarantees, will remain meaningless in the UK context.

While the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) would apparently like to see Ofgem, the gas and electricity market regulator, adopt this approach, Ofgem feels unable to do so because of its limited remit in this regard. It is disingenuous for the DTI to blame Ofgem for not following a hint that the department's officials had buried deep in an annex to a document associated with the government's sizable Energy Review Report from last year.

If DTI wants change, it has the powers to make it happen. DTI guides Ofgem's remit, and the EU renewables directive gives the UK powers to grant priority access to wind and other renewable energy generators, should it wish to. DTI has a stick, therefore, but seems too timid to use it.

The directive does not insist on giving renewables priority access to the electricity network, but the European Commission would clearly like the UK to implement the requirement. If the DTI does not get out its stick, perhaps the Commission should wave an even bigger stick at the UK. It would be nice to see some action.

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