Transmission trend

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Governments can stimulate as much wind development as they like, but without also clearing the way for it to be transmitted to customers, no amount of good renewables policy will be enough on its own. Lack of transmission is a huge barrier to further wind development in all of its major markets. Only in Spain is something serious being done about it (page 29), but not even that will be enough for wind to realise its full potential. For the rest of continental Europe, hope rests with the EU forcing the pace of national initiatives (page 52).

Meantime, an approach emerging in Britain dubbed "connect and manage" (page 49) bears a striking resemblance to what is being called "conditional/firm" in the United States (page 55). Still at the discussion stage, the idea is to connect wind generation to the network even if it is known there may be periods when wind output has to be curtailed. The advantage is that transmission capacity can subsequently be built in the knowledge that customers are already in place to pay for it, a much better prospect for investors worried about stranded costs. Indeed, Spain has effectively already adopted this approach to transmission. After all, it is how wind has been connecting into the distribution net for years in Germany and Denmark. Turning an emerging trend into regulation, however, will require a serious lobbying focus on the part of the wind industry.

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