|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Lord Dixon-Smith: The question is vital. It is one thing for National Grid Transco to have responsibility for laying the deep-sea high-voltage line at its expense; it is another if the costs are, as they should be, part of the cost of constructing the wind farm and getting the electricity to shore. We need an answer before the Bill completes its passage through the House. Without an answer to that question, we shall not know what we are talking about.
Lord Whitty: The total cost of the installation will include the cost of the transmission belt, but the generator will pay the cost of the farms, and the transmission company will pay the cost of the transmission. They will then claim back from the generator by the systems charges, in the same way the grid does from onshore generators, which will eventually make up that cost. It is not a question of the generator paying for the cost upfront.
Lord Tombs: I do not think that the noble Lord, Lord Ezra, has received an answer to his question. Does the Minister agree that the provision of offshore wind generation will be more expensive than onshore wind generation? Obviously, the foundation, distribution, and construction costs and the cost of transmission to land will also add to the cost. The second part of the noble Lord's question was who will pay for it, and the answer is the same person who pays for the premium cost of wind power at present; that is, the consumer.
Lord Whitty: As to whether onshore or offshore would be more expensive in practice, clearly one windmill operating offshore and requiring a transmission line will be significantly more than one similar-sized wind farm onshore connecting to a national grid only a few hundred yards away.
Baroness Miller of Hendon: It is interesting, because when I started I said that we did not have any major concerns about this group of amendments, in that we understand that administration must go forward, and that powers are needed in order to do that. However, I also said that we had some minor concerns. I listened to those concerns, and afterwards did not think that they were so minor. Whilst we still have some minor concerns, we do not believe that this particular power, that the Secretary of State can do anything that he considers appropriate, is correct.
Baroness Miller of Hendon: The noble Lord may very well be, but I am not in a time warp just because I did not mention things other than national newspapers. My noble friend drew my attention to the fact that the amendment I tabled referred to such further manner as the authority shall deem appropriate. So, apology accepted.
That is an important point, to which we shall return. I shall withdraw the amendment now, but there is no question in my mind about this. It is all very well the Minister saying that this has become usual, that it was done in the Utilities Act 2000, and no one seemed to notice. Yesterday, I did not notice the "or otherwise". It was only when I looked into it in more depth that I noticed it. It has become a habit of this Government to take unto themselves wide powers that look okay, but are not. It is important that we try to restrict that. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
"EXTENSION OF TRANSMISSION LICENCES OFFSHORE
(1) This section applies where, at the commencement of this section, a transmission licence is in force that authorises a person to co-ordinate and direct the flow of electricity onto and over a transmission system by means of which electricity is transmitted within Great Britain, or within an area of Great Britain (the "co-ordination licence").
(2) The Secretary of State may make such modifications of the co-ordination licence as he considers appropriate for the purpose of applying the authorisation and conditions of the licence in relation to the transmission of electricity within one or both of the following
(a) an area of the territorial sea adjacent to Great Britain; and
(b) an area designated under section 1(7) of the Continental Shelf Act 1964 (c. 29).
(3) The modifications that may be made by the Secretary of State under subsection (2) include such modifications of the co-ordination licence (including modifications of the conditions included in it) as the Secretary of State considers appropriate for incidental, consequential or transitional purposes.
(4) Where the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to do so for purposes that in relation to modifications made under subsection (2) are incidental or consequential purposes, he may make
(a) modifications of the conditions of a particular licence (other than the co-ordination licence);
(b) modifications of the standard conditions of licences of any type.
(5) Before making a modification under this section, the Secretary of State must consult
(a) the holder of any licence being modified; and
(b) such other persons as he considers appropriate.
(6) Subsection (5) may be satisfied by consultation that took place wholly or partly before the commencement of this section.
(7) The Secretary of State must publish every modification made by him under this section.
(8) The publication must be in such manner as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.
(9) A modification under subsection (2) or (4)(a) of part of a standard condition of a licence does not prevent any other part of the condition from continuing to be regarded as a standard condition for the purposes of Part 1 of the 1989 Act.
(10) Where the Secretary of State makes modifications under subsection (4)(b) of the standard conditions of licences of any type, GEMA must
(a) make (as nearly as may be) the same modifications of those standard conditions for the purposes of their incorporation in licences of that type granted after that time; and
(b) publish the modifications in such manner as it considers appropriate.
(11) The Secretary of State's powers under this section are exercisable only during the eighteen months beginning with the commencement of this section.
(12) Expressions used in this section and in Part 1 of the 1989 Act have the same meanings in this section as in that Part."
After Clause 79, insert the following new clause
"COMPETITIVE TENDERS FOR OFFSHORE TRANSMISSION LICENCES
After section 6B of the 1989 Act (applications for transmission licences) insert
"6C COMPETITIVE TENDERS FOR OFFSHORE TRANSMISSION LICENCES
(1) The Authority may by regulations make such provision as appears to it to be appropriate for facilitating the making, in prescribed cases, of a determination on a competitive basis of the person to whom an offshore transmission licence is to be granted.
(2) That provision may include
(a) provision, in prescribed cases, for the publication of a proposal to grant an offshore transmission licence;
(b) provision for the inclusion in such a proposal of an invitation to apply for such a licence;
(c) provision restricting the making of applications for offshore transmission licences and imposing requirements as to the period within which they must be made;
(d) provision for regulating the manner in which applications are considered and determined.
(3) Regulations under this section
(a) may make provision by reference to a determination by the Authority or to the opinion of the Authority as to any matter; and
(b) may dispense with or supplement provision made in relation to applications for transmission licences by or under section 6A or 6B above.
(4) The approval of the Secretary of State is required for the making of regulations under this section.
(5) In this section
'offshore transmission licence' means a transmission licence authorising anything that forms part of a transmission system to be used for purposes connected with offshore transmission; and
'prescribed' means prescribed in or determined under regulations made by the Authority.
(6) In subsection (5) 'offshore transmission' means the transmission within an area of offshore waters of electricity generated by a generating station in such an area.
(7) In subsection (6) 'offshore waters' means
(a) waters in or adjacent to Great Britain which are between the mean low water mark and the seaward limits of the territorial sea; and
(b) waters within an area designated under section 1(7) of the Continental Shelf Act 1964.""