The bidding process to build transmission networks to connect up to 8 GW of planned offshore wind farms has moved a step forward. Energy regulator Ofgem has been appointed by the government to run the competitive tender for companies interested in a slice of some £2 billion of investment in offshore transmission assets. These will connect the wind projects built under the second round of UK offshore development. Ofgem is also publishing a consultation on the format of the tender process. The new regime for licensing offshore transmission operators is expected to be finalised this year, says energy minister Malcolm Wicks. "The UK is on course to become the world's number one location in terms of installed offshore renewables capacity this year. We have been working hard with Ofgem and industry to deliver the necessary regulatory regime for offshore renewables," he says. Ofgem's chief executive, Alistair Buchanan, adds: "The UK has limited experience of building the links necessary to connect offshore renewables. Therefore opening this to competition is vital as it will help get the links delivered more cheaply and quickly. Competition also increases the likelihood of better solutions being developed to build, finance, and operate these links."
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol