Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Shake-up to make green energy more accessible to National Grid

Published Date: 26 August 2009
By Alan Jones
MOVES to make it easier to connect renewable energy sources to the National Grid have been announced by the government.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said the shake-up would help new projects waiting for a date to feed electricity into the grid to get out of the "queue" and would particularly help renewable energy such as wind farms.Around 200 projects with capacity for 60 gigawatts (GW) of new generation – 17 GW from renewable sources – are waiting to be connected to the grid .The government said last summer that it wanted to reform the "first come first served" system of connection, which meant some wind farms had connection dates years after they were due to start producing power.Mr Miliband said: "Access to the electricity grid has been one of the key barriers to the generation of renewable energy in this country."We need these new projects to get hooked up to the grid as soon as they are ready, both to help tackle climate change and secure our future energy supplies."For the first time, the government will make the detailed reforms to grid access rules that are necessary to overcome the delays. Previously, reforms were proposed by the industry and approved or rejected by the regulator, Ofgem.The Department of Energy and Climate Change said it was consulting over the next three months on three options for how the new system will work.David Cameron, chief technical officer at Scottish Renewables, said: "Our industry welcomes DECC's intervention in this process. There is a pressing need for renewables to connect up quickly to the grid and to be managed on to the system rather than waiting for years in a queue."Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy said the proposed rules would help Scottish renewable projects link into the UK grid