Glasgow, Scotland: Grid connection simulation technology can help wind power developers maximise revenue by meeting the critical 31 March 2017 Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) deadline, according to temporary power and temperature control specialist Aggreko.
To qualify for ROCs, developers must gain a G59 connection sign-off agreement from their District Network Operator (DNO), which is issued after successful commissioning. But delays in grid connection can put projects at risk from missing the ROC deadline by failing to complete commissioning on time.
An alternative is to complete the commissioning and testing phase using simulated grid connection technology, which has been used by Aggreko to accelerate G59 sign-off in the solar PV industry. This enabled projects to meet the 2015 ROC cut-off deadline for solar and, therefore, more than double the rate of return that might have been achieved by using the Contract for Difference (CfD) mechanism.
"Those wind farms missing the 2017 ROC deadline will lose millions of pounds of revenue so it's critical to avoid grid connection delays by taking control of every element of the construction and commissioning process", said Alf Scambler, Renewables Sector Manager for Aggreko.
By simulating grid connection using temporary generators and loadbanks, onshore wind project teams can fast track their G59 sign off. By taking control of the connection process, they can ensure availability of the turbine manufacturers' commissioning engineers and are then able to begin power export as soon as the grid connection is complete. This has an immediate return on investment because developers can earn ROCs or Feed in Tariffs from day one of the grid connection going live, rather than having to wait for the two to three months commissioning period.
Financial modelling by Aggreko underlines the importance of ROCs to project viability. For a 50 MW onshore wind project with 30% capacity, the gross lifetime ROC income is estimated at £395 million, compared to £334 million with CfD - a 15% difference in gross revenue.
"The DNOs are extremely busy, which is one reason why there is such a bottleneck in the grid connection process, with connections often having to wait up to two years. This can only get worse as the 2017 deadline approaches and demand increases", continued Scambler. “Other common reasons for delays include adverse weather conditions, problems in delivery of equipment, or planning issues”.
The cost of temporary grid simulation technology can be quickly offset from increased revenue due to the achievement of extra generation via early commissioning. The major benefit, however, is in mitigating project risk and securing long-term ROC income, rather than pursuing the uncertain route of the CfD auction. Scambler added: “We would urge developers to take control of the construction and commissioning process and factor grid simulated early commissioning into their capital expenditure budgets".
Aggreko, which has the world's largest fleet of temporary power and temperature control equipment, services every phase of the renewables lifecycle. This stretches from construction - through commissioning processes - to operation and maintenance.