Regulating utilities and wind

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In an amendment to the law governing wind power development in Denmark, utilities are now obliged to grid connect all wind power plant of 1.5 MW installed capacity and above once they have been granted a building license. Previously a utility has been free to refuse grid connection to an outlying wind project if the distance to the nearest connection point was such that the cost was deemed exorbitant. "It is good that with large wind plants it has been admitted that the cost of grid connection will always make sense for society and we won't have to waste time discussing this issue," comments Asbjørn Bjerre of Denmark's wind turbine owners association. But he warns against the danger of utilities choosing to misinterpret the law by refusing to grid connect smaller wind plant. The 1992 wind power law, he points out, clearly states that utilities in Denmark are responsible for not only maintaining a distribution network, but also for maintaining an "effective grid for electricity collection" within reasonable economic bounds. This clause has now been further clarified by officials at the energy ministry so nobody can be in doubt, not even a utility, says Bjerre. Under the 1992 law, the developer of a wind project must pay the cost of connecting it to the 10-20 kV grid, while the cost of expanding the grid, when necessary, falls to the utility.

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