Annual competitive tenders are proposed for companies wishing to bid to operate offshore transmission networks around Britain to link wind farms out at sea with the mainland grid. This was one of the proposals detailed in a consultation on licensing and regulation of offshore transmission launched by energy market regulator Ofgem and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR), the new name for the former Department of Trade and Industry, which dealt with energy matters. The consultation puts flesh on the government's plans for a competitive approach to offshore transmission. Under the plans, an offshore transmission owner (OFTO) will be responsible for designing, building and operating the assets connecting an offshore wind farm and will receive a regulated revenue stream. The OFTO will be selected by competitive tenders run by Ofgem. The consultation also proposes transitional arrangements for developers whose offshore projects are more advanced and have already taken steps towards constructing offshore transmission links for their wind farms. Implementation of the new regime is planned to begin in October 2008 when work on awarding the transmission licences can begin, with "go-live" scheduled for October 2009.
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