United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Wind wire: New grid rules

The British government is taking over responsibility for setting new rules for grid access for renewables from the country's energy regulator, Ofgem.

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The decision, announced in the government's new renewable energy strategy, comes after Ofgem had accused the electricity industry of blocking progress on reform of access arrangements.

Around 17 GW of renewables capacity - most of it wind - is waiting to connect to the grid. An industry committee was set up to reform grid access regulations and in May Ofgem approved a short-term fix to bring forward 1 GW of wind connections in Scotland. But agreement on long-term reform is proving more elusive. The committee rejected Ofgem's favoured amendment to the rules, arguing it was auctions of capacity by another name.

Ofgem claims the proposals currently on the table will mean consumers paying excessive cost. Lord Mogg, chairman of Ofgem's governing body, accuses the committee of being unwilling to examine all viable alternatives. Rather than delivering the emissions reductions the UK needs, the industry is "failing at the first hurdle," he says. He asks state energy secretary Ed Miliband to exercise his powers to bring forward the reforms needed. Miliband's Department of Energy and Climate Change now expects to consult on proposed reforms this summer. "The new rules should be in place within 12 months," says Miliband. "Instead of waiting for over a decade for grid connection as can happen now, we can get the fast access to the grid that renewable projects need."



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