An agreement to constrain the output of a Scottish wind farm for short periods each year has saved the developer more than £4.5 million in grid connection costs and has implications for future wind plant embedded in electricity networks throughout Britain. Renewable energy consultancy Econnect challenged charges originally quoted by Scottish & Southern Energy for network reinforcement for a 15 MW wind farm at Deucheran Hill on Kintyre. Electricity regulator OFGEM agreed with Econnect that developer PowerGen Renewables' should not have to foot the bill for the full costs of reinforcement originally included in the £5 million quote -- which threatened the future of the project. Instead, the parties agreed to a generator management plan to constrain output in the event of a circuit outage or high summertime wind speeds that could lead to power flows exceeding the firm capacity of the transmission system. The revised connection cost is just £0.25 million, less than 5% of the original quote. Guy Nicholson at Econnect says that in recognising constraint as a technically and commercially acceptable method for connecting embedded generation, OFGEM has set a critical precedent.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol