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DECC: Grid, consent needed 18 June

No RO for onshore projects not already meeting grace period criteria

DECC: Grid, consent needed 18 June image

Wind farms must hold grid and planning as of today in order to qualify for the Renewables Obligation grace period beyond March 2016.

DECC said projects will need to demonstrate as of 18 June 2015 that they have planning consent, a grid connection offer and acceptance, and evidence of land rights.

It has yet to indicated how long the grace period will run, if indeed there is a time limit, or whether it will stretch to cover the previous RO deadline of end-March 2017.

Primary legislation encompassing both the early end to the RO and the grace period will be part of the Energy Bill, which will be introduced later in this parliamentary sesssion.

It is anticipated the Bill, which will also include renewables planning changes in England and Wales also announced today, will take between nine and 12 months to become law.

DECC said around 5.2GW of wind currently has planning consent. Of that around 2.9GW is expected to tap into the grace period with the remainder either due online before April 2016, holding a Contract for Difference or in Northern Ireland, where energy policy is devolved.

Industry body British Wind said that even with the grace period, “it still means that much-needed projects will be lost unless the cut-off points for financial support are reviewed and extended”.

Infinis chairman Ian Marchant, speaking for the group, said: “As an industry we will be analysing the detail of the announcement and looking to work constructively with the government in an effort to prevent British bill payers from footing a large bill and to maintain investor confidence.”

He added: “We agree that the fundamental focus should be on delivering the best deal for the consumer and that is why it so important that onshore wind – the most cost effective renewable – should be allowed to continue helping the UK decarbonise at least cost."

Image: projects without grid or planning will not build under the RO (Nordex)

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