Expanding the System: Regulation and New Transmission Capacity for Renewables Connection in the UK

Dr Bridget Woodman, University of Exeter, Cornwall campus

 New transmission capacity will be needed to allow the connection of the renewables generation required to meet the government and EU targets for renewable energy.  Transmission networks in the UK have not expanded significantly for decades and the need for new renewable capacity presents challenges for the regulator, the transmission operator and generators if it is to be constructed and operated in a cost effective and secure way while still allowing renewable generation to connect and participate reliably in the electricity market.  A failure to design a regulatory regime which balances these needs will restrict the level of new renewable generation on the system and therefore threaten the UK’s performance on renewable energy targets.

This paper will consider three examples where the transmission system needs to expand, and the design of the regulatory regime intended to achieve this:

•           The construction of new offshore transmission lines to allow the connection of offshore wind farms

•           The upgrading and replacement of the Scotland/England interconnector to transport renewable power from Scotland to the England and Wales system

•           The construction of new transmission capacity between Scottish islands (the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland) and the main transmission network in Scotland

It will consider whether the regulatory arrangements for new transmission strike an appropriate balance between the interests of generators and the transmission operator, and whether the regulatory framework allows for the effective longer term development of networks in the context of the need for more sustainable generation.


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