BEIS and Ofgem seek views on electricity infrastructure coordination

In: InterconnectorsWindfarms
The UK government's Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Ofgem have published a joint open letter to developers of offshore wind generation, electricity transmission licensees, and other interested parties, calling for views to support the Offshore Transmission Network Review which launched in July 2020.

To date, all offshore wind farms in GB have been connected to the onshore system by individual point-to-point, or radial links. In the joint letter, BEIS and Ofgem stated this type of link may not be the best outcome for consumers in the future as generating capacity increases, and may also increase pressure on coastal connection points.

The review aims to understand what has stopped the development of coordinated transmission assets to date, and welcomes suggestions on how barriers could be overcome, including those of a legal, commercial or regulatory nature. As the economic regulator, Ofgem stated it would also like to understand where a change in current regulatory arrangements now could facilitate greater coordination or if wider change is needed.

BEIS and Ofgem aim to engage with a range of stakeholders, including developers of offshore wind and interconnector projects, and electricity transmission licensees. They particularly welcome discussions with stakeholders who are either already pursuing some level of coordination or have identified an opportunity to do so whether on a local, national or international level (such as considering anticipatory investment in one project to enable a future project, or combining offshore wind and interconnector assets). As part of these discussions the two government bodies would like to understand where the commercial, regulatory and policy frameworks might not be driving the best outcome for consumers or the energy system.

The two government bodies will consider links with the recently launched policy review of the interconnector regime, where multiple-purpose projects will also be addressed. This information will be used by both Ofgem and BEIS to capitalise on early opportunities that will deliver benefits for consumers and the wider energy system, as well as to inform future policy development relating to an enduring regime for connections post 2030.

Stakeholders are required to respond by 30 September 2020. Detailed discussions will then take place.

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