Ofgem cracks down on zombie energy projects

Staff
By Staff
2 Min Read

New regulations approved by Ofgem aim to address concerns regarding speculative energy developers securing connection agreements without landowner consent.

Under the new rules, developers must obtain formal approval from landowners before proceeding.

This move seeks to prevent delays caused by under-developed projects holding up more advanced ones.

The regulations also target “zombie projects” hindering renewable energy progress, with over 1,000 contracts under retrospective review.

The expansion of the queue and the influx of new applications, regardless of their speculative nature, have led to a significant average delay of over five years for projects seeking connection to the transmission system.

The gap between requested and offered connection dates has widened notably, stretching from approximately 18 months in 2019-20 to nearly five years by 2024.

As of January 2024, more than 65% of the 514GW of new generation capacity holding transmission connection contracts have connection dates set for 2030 or beyond, with certain projects scheduled as far ahead as 2039.

According to Jack Presley Abbott, Deputy Director of Energy Systems Management and Security, the overhaul of the connection system is part of a broader strategy aiming to rectify the inadequacies of the current “first-come, first-served” system.

Jack Presley Abbott said: “We need new power projects plugged into the grid as soon as possible to meet future energy demand.

“The first-come, first-served system is no longer fit for purpose. It was designed to handle small number of big fossil fuel generators, not the hundreds of smaller renewable power plants required to get to net zero – that’s why we’re overhauling it with the government and industry.

“We’re making rapid progress on having a tough, robust connections system in place by 2025 – removing stalled schemes on the queue and setting a high threshold for new entrants. The days developers could sit in the queue without consequences are gone.”

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