New transmission rules aim to cut UK connection wait

UK: New rules to cut waiting times for connecting UK wind projects to the grid became effective in August.

More than 17GW of wind projects are in the queue to connect, some with connection dates as late as 2025 - far beyond the timeframe for meeting the UK's 2020 renewables target.

Among a package of measures in the government's July Energy Statement, the government announced that it would be introducing a system of "connect and manage" to spread extra costs across all network users.

This will allow shovel-ready wind projects to hook up to the wires before planned network reinforcements are built. With a higher level of capacity connected than the grid was designed to take, system operator National Grid will have to manage the network more actively, constraining generation at times of congestion.

In 2009, UK energy regulator Ofgem gave the go-ahead to a system of "interim" connect and manage - a temporary fix to advance 1GW of capacity in the north of Scotland that had been held up by a planning battle over the Beauly Denny line.

But after a bitter stalemate between Ofgem and the industry over a longer-term solution, the regulator took the unusual step of asking the Department of Energy and Climate Change to take responsibility for setting the new rules. Ofgem warned that the industry's preferred solution - connect and manage - would mean excessive costs on consumers. However, the government now claims that "connect and manage" will effectively remove the barrier of grid access for wind projects in many areas.

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