United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Review of transmission access for more renewables

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Changes to the way in which the electricity grid in Britain is regulated and managed to enable more renewables to be connected are being considered in a review of national policy launched jointly by the government and energy market regulator Ofgem. "There are currently around 12 GW of projects seeking connection in Scotland along with many more in other parts of the UK," says Malcolm Wicks, back in the post of energy minister under new prime minister Gordon Brown. "This is enough capacity to make a significant contribution toward the government's aspiration of 20% of electricity coming from renewable sources by 2020." Most of the capacity waiting to connect is wind power. The Transmission Access Review will look at new approaches to sharing capacity between different forms of generation, the way in which new transmission assets are built and operated, and incentives for encouraging the timely connection -- and disconnection -- of power plant to ensure high levels of security of supply. It will also consider how regulation and operation of the grid can help the UK meet its 20% renewables goal by 2020. "Ofgem has already approved £5 billion investment in Britain's energy transmission networks over the next five years which will help link more renewables to the grid and continue the high performance and reliability of energy transmission," says Ofgem's Alistair Buchanan. "However, extra infrastructure to connect renewables takes time to build and there may be steps we can take now to change existing arrangements which will allow more projects to get connected faster." The review was one of the actions to emerge from the government's energy white paper, published in May. A final report on grid connection is to be published in May 2008 identifying any new reforms and legislation that may be needed.

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