Supplementary Memorandum from National Grid
We are concerned that the text of the report causes
unwarranted confusion between National Grid's high voltage electricity
network for England and Wales and the other electricity networks
to which wave and tidal projects are far more likely to connect.
As we had hoped to make clear in the written evidence
which we submitted at the Committee's request, National Grid owns
and operates the 275 and 400 kiloVolt transmission network for
England and Wales. As such our role in respect of the development
and connection of wave and non-barrier tidal energy is extremely
limited, largely because the generally small scale nature of these
projects means that it will be much more economic for them to
connect at lower voltages.
We are concerned that the report and its conclusions
perpetuate a misunderstanding as to our own role and that of other
networks, not least because the specific terms 'Grid' and 'Grid
Connection' are used when we believe that the more general term
'network connection' is really meant. We believe it is important
to set the record straight.
In particular, as explained in our evidence, National
Grid does not favour the connection of any particular form of
generation. Indeed, to do so would be a breach of our licence
which requires our charges to be cost-reflective and non-discriminatory.
It is more economic for large generators (over 300MW) to connect
directly to the transmission system and for smaller generators
to connect to distribution systems. Furthermore, it is more efficient
for generators to connect close to demand centres in the south
because this involves less investment in the transmission system,
than to connect in the north.
The issue is not therefore that 'the Grid is clearly
a structural barrier to the integration of wave and tidal energy
into the UK's energy system' (para 31). Rather, owing to the remoteness
of wave and tidal energy sources from demand centres, significant
costs will be incurred in network reinforcement, primarily for
the appropriate distribution networks. A central issue will therefore
be how the costs of such network reinforcement will be met.
National Grid's evidence explained that we actively
facilitate connection of all kinds of generating plant to our
network on a non-discriminatory and transparent basis ; that we
do not foresee any specific high-voltage grid-related issues likely
to impose a barrier to meeting the Government's 2010 targets for
renewable generation ; and, beyond this, we also believe that
the actions we are taking now will ensure that there are no barriers
for much larger renewable developments in the longer term.
18 May 2001