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Closer to plugging offshore wind energy into the UK grid

Plans to connect large amounts of future offshore wind energy to the UK national grid have been firmed up.

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) have announced a final opportunity to comment on the new regulatory framework to connect offshore renewable energy projects to the onshore grid. Consulting runs until 6 May.

The regime will ensure offshore energy cable connections are delivered on time and at reasonable cost to maintain an effective and secure grid. Tenders for the new regime are due to be launched in the summer.

Energy and Climate Change Minister, Mike O'Brien says: “This is a key building block in delivering the offshore grid we will need by 2020. The UK already leads the world in offshore wind and with Government assessing the potential for much more, we need a grid which can be built and run in the most cost effective way.”

Alistair Buchanan, Ofgem Chief Executive, adds: “The infrastructure needed to connect new offshore renewables has never before been constructed on this scale. Opening this up to competitive tender ensures it can be delivered more quickly and cost-effectively.”

The Government's proposals will create new offshore transmission licences which will be granted through a competitive tender process managed by Ofgem. Successful bidders for the licences will become Offshore Transmission Owners (OFTOs).

Competitive tendering could:

  • Lower the cost of building and operating the assets;
  • Enable new players to bring innovative technical, operational and financial solutions to the connection of offshore wind farms;
  • Lead to a more ‘light touch’ regulatory approach since there will be no need for a regular review of the prices charged by the OFTOs.

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Energy infrastructure  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Wind power