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Ofgem asks UK grid operators to identify ways to connect more renewables

CTBR Staff Writer Published 07 March 2016

UK energy regulator Ofgem is urging distribution network operators (DNOs) to identify ways to accelerate the connection of renewable power capacity.

ofgem

Official forecasts made in 2012 indicated that the UK could have about 6.5GW of solar panel capacity connected by 2030.

At the end of December last year, 8.6GW of solar capacity was installed.

Ofgem said there is limited network capacity in some regions such as the South West, which leads to huge costs and timescales for connection.

It is challenging DNOs to find new ways to link more generators to the existing grid.

The regulator cited as an example Western Power Distribution (WPD) which has 7.6GW of capacity waiting for connection, including about 4.8 GW of solar systems.

WPD is reconfiguring part of its grid to make sure quicker connections for some generators in the queue.

It is also proposing to connect some generators quicker but only if they agree to reduce output with no compensation payments when there is the highest demand from other generators to use the grid.

Ofgem chief executive Dermot Nolan said: "We want DNOs to take creative approaches to speeding up renewable connections.They can do this firstly by making best use of their existing grids, as WPD has done.

"We are also calling on DNOs to enable earlier investment in new capacity where necessary using funding in their price controls.
This means that they won't be adding extra costs onto your bill."

Ofgem is also asking generators and stakeholders to give feedback about whether or not DNOs are proactive enough on handling the queue for connections.

The feedback will help Ofgem to impose penalties on DNOs which fail to meet the customer requirements.


Image: Official forecasts made in 2012 indicated that the UK could have about 6.5GW of solar panel capacity connected by 2030. Photo: courtesy of Ofgem.