33kV investment approval for Small Scale Generation
NIE Networks welcomes the investment approval by the Utility Regulator of up to £2.3m to facilitate additional small scale generation export from the 11kV network to the 33kV network.
As significant small scale generation is now already connected, or committed to connect, upstream issues are created on the associated 33kV networks. These issues can only be alleviated through reinforcing the 33kV networks and so enabling the connection of small scale generation on the underlying 11kV networks.
This approval covers modest investments at 40 primary (33kV) substations, which will enable reverse power flow from the 11kV network to the upstream 33kV network when generation levels are high. Higher cost investments, which will require extensive 33kV capital works, are still under consideration by the Utility Regulator and NIE Networks.
Although these approved 33kV investments will not reduce generation connection costs, they will enable generation export from viable small scale generation projects, which would otherwise not be able to proceed. As a result, we expect to be able to regularise the position with a number of applicants in these areas who received Connection Offers which were “conditional” on these investments being approved, allowing them to proceed with their generation projects.
While these investments will help maximise the remaining potential for small scale generation connections, it should be noted that the limited export capacity created in some areas will restrict the number of projects that can proceed.
NIE Networks is now developing a project plan and timelines for delivery of the approved 33kV investments. We will contact those applicants with conditional Connection Offers in areas where connection may now be possible in order to regularise their Connection Offers and progress their generation projects.
Read our February 2013 statement here.