Select Committee on Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Written Evidence

Memorandum 85

Supplementary submission from Rwe Innogy (Npower Renewables Limited in the UK)

  In response to the Committee's recent question regarding the appropriateness of current reforms to the offshore grid transmission regime in the light of a UK aspiration to deliver 25GW of offshore wind, I am happy to be able to provide our view.

  It is quite possible that the current point to point arrangements may not be the best arrangement for Round 3 and beyond, however the aspiration to develop a further 25GW of offshore wind (in addition to licenses granted under Round 1 and Round 2) was not on the cards when the consultation on the offshore grid arrangements started two years ago. We feel that the current point to point regime can be made to work for Round 2, and it is the view of most credible investing parties in the industry that in the short term resources need to be focused on delivering a working regime for Round 2. The current stage of development of the offshore regime is that to re-start the whole process would delay the delivery of Round 2 for several years.

  In our view, the critical paths in relation to Round 3 and beyond (and hence delivery of the EU 20% renewable energy target) are:

    (i)  Delivery of the first large offshore wind farms such as those proposed in Round 2. Currently the largest operational offshore wind farm in the UK is 90MW and the largest under construction is still below the 200MW mark. Further, a number of the Round 2 wind farms including our own development Gwynt y Mo®r are still awaiting Section 36 consent from BERR.

    (ii)  Planning of the onshore grid infrastructure so that consents can be applied for in good time so that there is an adequately sized and located onshore system for the offshore grid to connect to. To get this moving we do not need to know what OFTO approach is going to be taken.

  There is no reason why the point to point system cannot be applied to Round 2 and a new system (such as a national offshore grid) be considered and derived for Round 3. There is a recognition throughout industry that the current point to point arrangement should be reviewed once the issues and benefits with implementation have been experienced.

  In the meantime, the industry's scarce resources need to be focused on getting Round 2 built and connected using the system that has already benefited from significant development.

  I hope this provides a useful insight into the developers' perspective.

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