United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Green generators to pool output

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As the end of the road nears for power purchase contracts signed under the first two orders of the UK's Non Fossil Fuel Obligation (NFFO), nearly all renewable energy projects operating under them have been signed up to the Renewable Generators Consortium (RGC). The consortium is a grouping of generators who have joined forces to market and sell their output to electricity suppliers in Britain's liberalised market. They account for more than 270 MW of the 321 MW of renewable capacity contracted under NFFO-1 and NFFO-2 at a premium price. These contracts run out at the end of 1998.

Options available to the consortium include selling output into the electricity pool -- though low pool prices make this unattractive -- or contracting directly with public electricity suppliers. The RGC believes that by banding together the renewable generators improve their purchasing power and will be able to negotiate a significantly better price for its members' output. "It is easier for a supplier to deal with a group than with individual generators," explains Andrew Macdonald from the RGC. Rupert Fraser, also from RGC, adds: "On their own, NFFO-1 and 2 generators found it almost impossible to be offered acceptable contracts by suppliers. With this powerful mandate, RGC hopes to find suppliers who take renewables seriously."

Some electricity suppliers are already beginning to market "green" tariffs -- such as Eastern Group and the South Western Electricity Board and others are sure to follow. The consortium hopes that one of these will take all its members' capacity. "The danger is that if we divide our output into packages it sends a confusing message to the electricity consumer," says Macdonald. The driving force behind the consortium is Fibrowatt Limited, which owns two NFFO-1 schemes generating electricity from chicken litter.

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