Energy Bill

Written evidence submitted by EDF Energy (EB 08)

We would like to raise a concern relating to the Government’s proposed amendment to the Energy Bill which closes the Renewable Obligation (RO) early to onshore wind projects.

The Government’s amendment includes an RO "grace period" arrangements for projects that, on 18th June 2015, had met three requirements (planning consent, grid agreement and land access). 

Our concern relates to projects that have clearly met all three of these requirements for the RO closure grace period on the specified date, but have subsequently had a variation made to the planning consent or the grid agreement. These variation cases are not explicitly addressed in the wording of the Government amendments but Lord Bourne has stated on several occasions that the intention is that such projects with variations would be covered by the RO closure grace period.  We welcome this intention.

However, in order to remove any uncertainty and to ensure that varied projects do secure a grace period, then we believe that further wording should be added to the grace period amendment to address explicitly the case of subsequent variations.  The wording that would achieve this has already been provided to DECC by the combined trade associations.  The following two proposals would address our concerns:-

· In proposed subsection 32LJ (4) (a) (i) after "18 June 2015" insert "and includes any planning permission, consent or development consent issued after 18 June 2015 under section 73 of the 1990 Act, section 42 of the 1997 Act, section 36(C) of this Act or under the Planning Act 2008 varying a planning permission, consent or development consent issued on or before 18 June 2015."

Explanatory Note: This important and fair amendment allows for what are understood to be a reasonable number of cases where planning permission was granted before 18 June 2015, but where applications have been made to vary such permissions under the 1990 Act or the 1997 Act, or where an application has been made to vary a section 36 consent or vary a Development Consent Order issued under the Planning Act 2008 (in England or Wales).  It is understood that the Government is content with the principle, but feels that no grace period condition is required.  This is wrong because variation consents are fresh planning permissions as a matter of law.  Were it not for this amendment such variation permissions would not qualify under the Government’s grace period condition.

and

· In proposed subsection 32LJ (5) (a) leave out "made on or before 18 June 2015." and, after "evidence that the offer" insert "is for a connection date on or before 31 March 2017".

January 2016

 

Prepared 25th January 2016