On 11th December 2015 the Commission for Energy Regulation ("CER"), the Irish energy regulator, published a consultation paper on the review of connection and grid access policy in the Republic of Ireland (the "Consultation Paper"). The Consultation Paper sets out the initial steps to be taken in implementing a new connection policy ("Enduring Connection Policy") for the electrical system in the Republic of Ireland, the effect of which is to free-up capacity on the system and introduce a more streamlined application process. The CER states as its objective for introducing the new connection policy the provision of:
"a fair opportunity for generation to receive offers of connection to the network taking account of system needs, efficiency, national policy and consumer interest".
Significance of the Consultation Paper
The important aspects of the Consultation Paper are summarised below. To support the timely transition to the new Enduring Connection Policy, the CER considers that there are benefits to implementing the following policy measures and arrangements for connection to the grid more quickly where this supports the proposed connection policy objective. It is proposed that policy measures (a) and (c) listed below would be implemented before 30 June 2016.
The CER have concluded that a number of applicants currently in Gate 3 may no longer be in a position to move forward with the project, despite having signed connection offers. The CER propose returning 100% of a project's first stage payment to the applicant in consideration of the applicant's termination of the connection agreement so that the capacity can then be allotted to another applicant (presumably whose project is more advanced with its permitting and is nearer to the commencement of construction). The CER also intend...