Seven electricity interconnectors pass to next stage of Ofgem’s cap and floor window

UK energy market regulator Ofgem has decided that all electricity interconnector projects that submitted applications in its third cap and floor window will progress to the next phase.

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This third window was opened for electricity interconnectors able to start operations before the end of 2032 and the application period ran from 1 September 2022 until 10 January 2023.

Seven applications were reviewed, including three by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), proposing connections to Belgium, Denmark and Germany, Aquind with a connection to France, NU-Link Consortium with a connection to the Netherlands, Transmission Investment for a connection to Northern Ireland, and MCL for a connection to the Republic of Ireland.

Ofgem assessed the applications against its eligibility criteria, including an application for an interconnector license, a GB connection agreement for connection before the end of 2032, and provision of complete submission material for the Initial Project Assessment (IPA) stage, including indicative costs and plans for obtaining a grid connection and regulatory approval(s) in the connecting country.

All projects were successful in fulfilling the eligibility criteria and will now progress to the IPA stage, which concerns a needs case assessment to ensure that projects that are likely to be in the interest of GB consumers are approved.

“We welcome Ofgem’s decision to advance Aquind Interconnector for the next stage to achieve Cap and Floor status. Aquind Interconnector will contribute to energy security, resilience and supply shocks, by connecting power generation capacity in Britain and France,” a spokesman for Aquind Ltd said.

“The interconnector will deliver up to 5% of Great Britain’s annual electricity consumption – enough to power five million British homes with more affordable and sustainable electricity. This project is one of the key elements of infrastructure to help reach Net Zero sooner and at a lower cost.”

According to the UK regulator, the purpose of the eligibility criteria is to ensure that the projects meet the eligibility requirements and to establish whether the submissions include the right information needed for assessment at the IPA stage.

“We have not assessed the projects at this eligibility stage – we have checked to ensure that our eligibility criteria have been met. Our detailed assessment at the IPA stage will inform our recommendations on whether to approve or reject each project,” Ofgem said.

Alongside the needs case assessment, Ofgem said it will continue to engage with developers and with relevant regulatory authorities in connecting countries to assess the deliverability and maturity of projects, to ensure they have the appropriate regulatory support in order to proceed in this application window.

The plan is to consult on the IPA decision in the latter half of 2023. The consultation on the timelines and incentives changes for third window interconnections is set to be published shortly.

Related Article

At the beginning of February, Ofgem granted electricity interconnector licenses for three energy links that will connect the UK with Belgium, Germany and Denmark.

The UK energy market regulator also recently approved the strategic electricity transmission reinforcements required to deliver the UK Government’s 50 GW of offshore wind by 2030 target, which include two 2 GW subsea HVDC links from Peterhead to England, a 2 GW subsea HVDC link from Spittal in Caithness, connecting to Peterhead, as well as a 1.8 GW subsea HVDC link from Arnish on the Western Isles to the Beauly area near Inverness.