BEIS and Ofgem seek views on electricity infrastructure coordination
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.