Photo: Rampion Offshore

UK proposes to ease OFTO rules on four offshore wind farms

The UK Government has proposed to exempt Beatrice, Hornsea One, Rampion, and East Anglia One offshore wind farms from the requirement to hold a licence to transmit electricity, due to COVID-19-related delays in transferring their transmission assets.

The four offshore wind farms, involved in the fifth and sixth tender rounds of the Offshore Transmission Owner (OFTO) regime, would otherwise be at risk of transmitting electricity unlawfully.

“The exemptions are being proposed on the basis that the delays caused by COVID-19 constitute exceptional circumstances”, the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) states in its consultation notice for the exemption order.

There would be a time limit, from three to twelve months, for each project to be allowed to operate without the licence, depending on how much the COVID-19 impacted each of them.

According to the UK OFTO regime, an offshore wind farm’s transmission assets should be transferred to an independent OFTO operator within 18 months after a project is completed. Within these 18 months, the OFTO tender process is taking place.

However, now the tender process for the fifth and sixth OFTO is impacted by the ongoing pandemic and restrictions, and is expected to be affected further.

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