Transmission access – developing a regime to facilitate the delivery of the UK’s Renewable Targets

Mr Philip Baker, Exeter University

Abstract for BIEE 7th Academic Conference

The New Energy Challenge: Security and Sustainability

A Job for Governments, markets…or a third way?

Delivering the UK’s obligations in contributing to the EU commitment to obtain 20% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020 is likely to require the connection of around 35-45 GW of renewable – mainly wind – generation.  In addition, significant amounts of new conventional and possibly nuclear generation will be required to replace decommissioning plant and to meet load growth.

With renewable generation wishing to connect in Scotland now being  quoted dates circa 2020, it is clear that the methodology currently applied by National Grid for regulating access to the transmission system could become a significant barrier to the connection of sufficient new generation within the necessary timescales.  While this methodology has arguably worked well in recent years with the connection of substantial amounts of generating capacity, the focus on accommodating the simultaneous operation of conventional generation to meet peak demand seems inappropriate given the future need for a mixed generation portfolio with a high proportion of intermittent wind generation.

The paper will review current transmission access methodology and discuss the need to develop alterative arrangements that recognise the replacement role of renewable generation and the overriding need for conventional and intermittent renewable generation to share available transmission capacity. In addition, the paper will discuss the different demands placed on the transmission system by different generation technologies, the need for more flexible market-based access arrangements designed to allow early connection and the possible need for a more strategic approach to the provision of transmission infrastructure, given the timescales imposed by UK’s new renewable obligations.

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