A specific barrier identified in the Sector Deal was the current OFTO regime. The current approach to designing, building, and operating offshore transmission was developed when offshore wind was a nascent sector and industry expectations were as low as 10GW by 2030. However, in the context of increasingly ambitious targets, constructing individual point to point connections for each offshore wind farm may not provide the most efficient approach and could become a major barrier to delivery given the environmental and local impacts, particularly from the associated onshore infrastructure required to connect to the national transmission network.
The OWIC Offshore Transmission Group workstream published two papers, setting out the long-and short- term parameters that they consider need to be addressed to mitigate the grid transmission barriers to deployment and the timescales required to enable 2030 targets. These were then discussed with key stakeholders including BEIS, Ofgem and the Electricity System Operator (ESO).
“Delivering 40GW by 2030 and meeting a long-term net zero goal requires a new approach to connecting offshore wind farms to the network in future. The offshore transmission network review is a welcome and vital part of the picture to reduce costs for consumers and impacts on the environment and coastal communities”.
Workstream Sponsor, Vattenfall
In July 2020, Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng announced the Offshore Transmission Network Review. The Review brings together the key stakeholders to consider all aspects of the existing regime, including learning from other countries, to determine how connections can be done more efficiently considering an appropriate balance between environmental, social and economic costs. Its terms of reference, focus on both identifying actions that can be taken to facilitate coordination between projects in the short to medium term, plus a longer-term strategic review to develop a new regime that can ensure a more coordinated approach for the future leasing site.
Workstream Lead, RWE
The OWIC Offshore Transmission group will continue to be involved in the OFTO Transmission Network Review. OWIC will continue to be actively involved in this work to provide an industry perspective, with the OWIC Offshore Transmission workstream lead chairing the independent Expert Advisory Group to support this work. The group itself continues to provide inputs into and a review of the work being undertaken by various work streams. This includes independent analysis, where necessary, to ensure that the technical and commercial challenges are understood and addressed by the Review.