The Irish government is to relax its deadline for completion of renewable projects awarded contracts under the latest rounds of the country's now defunct support mechanism, the Alternative Energy Requirement (AER). Around 500 MW of renewables projects -- mostly wind power plant -- won power purchase contracts under the fifth and sixth requests for project proposals under the AER. A condition of the contracts was that all projects were to be complete by end December 2004. Many wind projects with contracts, however, have not been able to obtain the vital grid connection agreement allowing them to proceed, largely a result of a moratorium imposed by the energy regulator in December on all new grid connection offers. The Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (DCMNR) now says in a "clarification" that it will allow extensions to the deadline to projects held up by delays in grid connections or by "other delays beyond the control of the applicant." The energy regulator is claiming that if connected, there is a risk the wind power projects could affect secure supplies of electricity in Ireland -- a claim hotly disputed by the wind power industry.