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United Kingdom

Regulator calls for determination -- Rewiring Britain

Energy regulator Callum McCarthy has called on electricity network operators to face up to the challenge of "rewiring" Britain arising from the government's policies on renewables and combined heat and power (CHP). At the same time he set out his proposals for a regulatory framework that encourages distribution network operators (DNOs) to connect large amounts of distributed renewables and CHP.

"This is a time of unparalleled change to future demands for investment in the electricity network and the way it is operated," he says. "This means network operators face a series of challenges which need to be addressed with determination and clarity." McCarthy's latest call builds upon his initial thoughts outlined at a conference of DNOs in September (Windpower Monthly, October 2002). Key issues facing DNOs and regulatory office Ofgem are how to meet obligations on price and competition while meeting the government's security of supply and environmental aims, how to deal with the uncertainty of where, how much and when new generation is to be connected, and what are the right incentives for getting flexible and actively managed networks.

"We need to develop a framework which will provide the correct investment incentives and rewards," McCarthy says. Meantime, the government's Distributed Generation Co-ordinating Group has launched a consultation on the contribution that distributed -- or embedded -- generation can make to network security.

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