Ofgem has today (13 November) announced new rules that will allow National Grid ESO (ESO) to terminate projects holding up the grid connection queue.
As explored in our Current± Explores: The Grid Connection Conundrum mini-series at the beginning of this year, the ‘clogged’ transmission entry capacity (TEC) register is causing severe decarbonisation delays, as many of Britain’s renewable projects are prevented from securing connection dates until well into the 2030s.
According to a recent report by utility company, Centrica, the TEC queue is currently filled with “phantom” projects owned by developers that may not have land rights and have not applied for planning consent. The report revealed that, at present, 371GW of projects are sat in the queue with around 114GW of these having listed their connection date before 2029.
By granting ESO new powers to proactively manage the connections process, the energy regulator aims to unclog the connections queue by terminating projects that “are not progressing against their project milestones”.
These queue management milestones will be inserted into all transmission grid connection contracts that have a post-November 2025 connection date.
Ofgem’s rule change comes in the form of a code modification, which was originally proposed by the ESO in October 2021, to the Connection and Use of System Code (CUSC).
The ESO has also announced that it has commissioned an independent engineering consultancy dubbed DNV, which will inspect 144 “potentially high-risk” projects, which currently account for roughly 29GW of capacity and have connection dates before the end of 2025.
According to the system operator, if these projects are unable to demonstrate that they will be ready to connect in time, it will push the project back or, where necessary, terminate them to clear the queue for projects closer to being connection-ready.
At present there are 232 projects accounting for an estimated 45GW of capacity due to be connected by 2025.