National Grid ESO and Ofgem have unveiled the next steps for the Transmission Entry Capacity (TEC) amnesty which could remove 8GW of non-viable projects.
The TEC register is a crucial part of the energy system and is essentially a queue for projects waiting for a grid connection. However, with a huge number of potential projects now looking to connect – Ofgem has stated that this figure stands at 340GW – this has now caused a “clogging” which could hinder the UK’s net zero ambitions.
Highlighting the extent of the issue, Ofgem revealed that “over 40% of all new generation capacity holding transmission connection agreements today have connection dates of 2030 or beyond (some as late as 2037)”.
But in line with the UK’s decarbonisation and energy security prospects, many of these projects must come online much sooner to play a role on the journey to net zero.
One of the biggest issues with the TEC register is the number of non-viable projects. To leave the queue, companies must pay a fee meaning that many are reluctant to do so. And with the queue working on a “first come first serve basis”, viable projects are stuck behind ones that are less likely to be developed.
To rectify this, ESO has agreed to waive these cancellation fees up until September 2024, granting non-viable projects the opportunity to leave the queue and help spearhead the development of more promising projects. ESO said that beyond this date, existing frameworks will continue to apply.
It is important to note that this will only apply to customer projects that opted into TEC Amnesty during the expression of interest window for TEC Amnesty which ran from October 2022 to April 2023.
Ofgem, in a letter of approval, stated: “There is a clear need to take action now to enable the optimisation of the connection queue to deliver improved connection dates and processes for customers, which we outlined in our open letter earlier this year.
“Releasing this capacity from the queue is in the interests of consumers and net zero and is in line with our consumer interest’s framework. Our support to facilitate the processing of the TEC Amnesty signals our commitment to achieving our objective and desired outcomes for Connections Reform.”
The topic of grid connections had been discussed in our Current± Explores: The Grid Connection Conundrum mini-series from earlier this year. You can read the first article here.