United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Ofgem to coordinate UK offshore transmission

UK: Interlinking the transmission connections between offshore wind farms could reduce construction and operating costs by up to 15%, according to UK energy regulator Ofgem

The suggestion is included in a public consultation on proposed changes to the regulatory regime governing offshore electricity transmission.

A more coordinated approach to offshore transmission could reduce the estimated £6-24 billion cost of connecting and operating new links needed by 2030 by between £0.5-£3.5 billion, concludes research commissioned by the UK government. The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change is trying to facilitate a reduction the cost of offshore wind energy from around £150/MWh to £100/MWh by 2020.

In addition to reducing costs, coordinating the offshore grid more effectively could also encourage the development of an offshore network between nations bordering the North Sea, thus linking wind farms off Britain's coast with other European countries.

The consultation also suggests an approach to managing investment in grid connections that goes beyond the needs of a particular project. The lack of clarity on this issue, known as "anticipatory investment", has been highlighted as a key barrier to better coordination of the transmission network.

Head of grid at RenewableUK Guy Nicholson said: "As well as connecting the 18GW of offshore wind generation we expect to be operating by 2020, the offshore transmission regime can help reduce timescales and costs for both onshore reinforcement and interconnection with the rest of Europe".

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