Energy Bill

Written evidence submitted on behalf of North Calliachar Wind Farm Ltd. Owner I and H Brown NC Ltd, Perthshire, Scotland (EB 05)

Outline Summary:-

· North Calliachar is a 7 turbine potential wind farm located in Perth and Kinross.

· Capacity up to 16.1 MW.

· Planning consent awarded 30th March 2015 after appeal to Scottish Ministers. This means that the project should have been included in the DECC calculation of projects assumed to be qualifying for the RO, and was capacity qualifying for the 2016 -17 Grace period outlined on the 18th June 2015.

· Land secured.

· The project is an extension to 182 MW Griffin Wind Farm owned and operated by SSE.

· The physical grid connection capacity to accommodate North Calliachar was built at the same time as Griffin (208 MW built)and so the project already has its connection entry capacity (CEC) constructed and available to plug into.

· The project was a JV between I and H Brown and SSE. SSE controlled the CEC and contractual rights to allow North Calliachar to access the grid through the Transmission Entry Capacity (TEC). The connection date for North Calliachar’s 16.1 MW had simply been deferred through a Mod App with National Grid to allow for its connection in late 2016. Under the rules of the RO the project did not therefore need a separate grid connection agreement as it was deemed to be a part of a larger project. If it had remained like this on the 18th June 2015 it would have qualified for the first 2016-2017 RO extension proposed under this Energy Bill.

· In early 2015 SSE announced their intension to withdraw from the project. In March they confirmed this withdrawal. Because SSE controlled the TEC this meant it was surrendered back to National Grid in March leaving North Calliachar with CEC but not TEC. At this point the project had no contractual grid access rights, but did have the physical assets built and ready to connect to the grid.

· North Calliachar entered discussions with Nat Grid and SSE transmission to reinstate the grid access rights. This is a very formal process and requires detailed discussions on design etc. The application was finally tabled by National Grid in June 2015; but the process is 90 days and so could not produce a firm offer and acceptance until September 2015. The project has subsequently received an offer which confirms the award of contractual capacity (TEC) for a connection date before March 2017. This was a predictable outcome as the physical connection capacity had already been constructed. Nat Grid and SSE only had to offer the capacity rights and allow the connection of a new meter / switch to enable Roc registration and control in the event of scheduled and unscheduled outages on the Griffin Circuits.

· As a result of this process the project did not have contractual rights to use the grid (TEC) on June 18th 2015. It had and has TEC both sides of this date but not in the 3 month period either side of the actual date; and as result would be made ineligible under the grid ruling proposed under this Energy Bill.

· The project has invested more than £1m to this stage and has a legitimate expectation to deliver before March 2017. Turbine selection has been completed and civil contractors selected, but without the RO this project will not get built.

· The project will cost in the region of £21m with approximately 25 % of this staying in the local area.

· It is recognised that these are unique circumstances and as senior DECC officials point out the peculiar set of events around grid relating to this project have the unintended consequence of making it ineligible.

· My request to the Bill Committee is that they change the qualifying wording around the grid eligibility to allow North Calliacher to qualify for the RO.

· If the grid wording in the Bill returned to simply allowing any project which possessed a signed grid connection for a connection date prior to the end of March 2017, this project could proceed.

· The impact of such a change would not have a flood gate approach to allowing large amounts of new capacity to qualify, because grid is severely constrained and struggling to deliver the current connections in time for the deadline dates. New grid lines cannot be built in time for March 2017 if they are not already scheduled. The only reason this project can deliver is because its physical connection was already constructed and exists today. All that was required was the reallocation of the contractual capacity (TEC).

January 2016

 

Prepared 25th January 2016