Wind projects totalling over 1300 MW have been told they qualify to be hooked up to Ireland's electricity networks in the country's second round of processing applications for connection, known as Gate 2. Applications for connection are dealt with in geographical groups -- an approach taken since 2004 to deal with a huge demand from wind developers wanting to connect to the system. Under Gate 1, projects totalling some 370 MW were sent offers by the transmission and distribution system operators. This year 197 projects totalling 3016 MW applied under Gate 2. In April 2006 the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) announced that 500 MW of projects at the head of the queue would receive Gate 2 connection offers, plus up to a further 800 MW that meet certain "system optimisation" criteria. This allows through extensions to existing projects which need no network upgrade, or projects that can be grouped with a "driver project" which is already included in Gate 1 or in the first 500 MW of Gate 2. CER more than fulfilled its promise. A total of 121 projects totalling 1348 MW, almost all of it wind, have now been approved for connection under Gate 2. Connection offers from both the Transmission System Operator and Distribution System Operator are expected to roll out from early 2007.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol