The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has launched a new grid connection policy for renewable and other generators, known as ECP-1, which will seek to allow “shovel ready” projects that already have planning permission, connect to the electricity networks.
The principal objective which guides our final decision remains the same, and is to allow those projects which are ‘shovel ready’ to have an opportunity to connect to the network, along with laying the foundations for future, more regular batches for connection.
The system operators are expected to open an application window for the 2018 batch within one month from the recent decision, and close it within two months from the decision. This should give potential applicants at least one month to submit their applications. The first connection offers should be issued before the end of 2018. CRU expects that those applicants which have been successfully prioritised to receive an ECP-1 connection offer will be notified of this within a few months from the closing date for applications. The CRU is seeking to introduce a new incentive for system operators to process applications according the planned timetable.
The grid connection application window forthcoming under ECP-1, will be the first time since 2007 that certain renewable energy projects including wind farms, will have a opportunity to secure a new grid connection offer.
The requirement to already have secured planning permission for the project seeking the grid connection, had been well-flagged previously. Under ECP-1, it is also intended to provide at least 1,000MW of new connection offers under the 2018 batch, with up to 400MW of these being reserved for DS3 providers. The option to relocate grid capacity is also to be removed, with the exception of contracted projects which will have one last opportunity to relocate their capacity to a site with planning permission.
A full copy of the final CRU ECP-1 decision, can be downloaded from: https://www.cru.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/CRU18058-ECP-1-decision-FINAL-27.03.2018.pdf