Access to the grid network is currently a key constraint for increased
wind energy development. As Robb H notes our existing network is
optimised for traditional (centralised) generation. Robb makes some
interesting comments about smart grid and raises the question as to how
more efficient and new grid projects are going to be funded.
the UK renewable energy generators pay to connect and use the grid
network as part of an "invest and use" strategy currently operated by
National Grid. This incremental strategy will not however be
sufficient in the long term and there has been much debate recently as
to how we can maximise the use of capacity left in the existing grid
network whilst at the same time fund new grid infrastructure.
Suggestions for 'auctioning' grid capacity have been controversial in
There is currently no effective mechanism for
building new grid infrastructure and we are stuck in a 'chicken and
egg' situation i.e. developers need to know they can access grid
capacity before spending on renewable energy projects but NG need
projects to justify building additional grid. Centralised funding for
new grid planning would be a step in the right direction followed up by
a system that allows appropriately timed cost reflective payments by
developers to National Grid.
I wholeheartedly agree with many
comments raised here in relation to a sustainable, decentralised energy
network being the way forward. However - we need to look at the right
balance between 'the more locally generated electricity, the better'
and increased output from larger renewable energy projects - including
the different issues caused in relation to grid management - for
example, small, local generation results in a more complex system for
DNO's. As with everything else in this world - it is all about getting
the right balance- see my post on little or large wind farms at wind energy planning
relation to the comments on peat, it goes without saying that the
negative impacts need to be weighed against the positive - every wind
farm application that could affect peat should have an assessment so
that the carbon payback can be objectively analysed.