Consultation outcome

Offshore Transmission Network Review: proposals for an enduring regime and multi-purpose interconnectors

Applies to England, Scotland and Wales

This consultation has concluded

Download the full outcome

Detail of outcome

The Energy White Paper included a target of increasing offshore wind capacity to 40 GW by 2030, to accelerate the transition to Net Zero. That target was increased to 50 GW by 2030 in the Energy Security Strategy. As the scale of development increases, a different approach to offshore wind is needed in order to limit the impact on coastal communities and the environment.

The Offshore Transmission Network Review (OTNR) was established to deliver a more coordinated approach to offshore wind development, taking into account environmental, social and economic costs. The OTNR is considering an Enduring Regime that takes a more strategic approach to windfarm development, including how best to facilitate multi-purpose interconnectors (MPIs), assets that combine interconnection with direct connections to offshore wind farms.

This consultation forms part of the OTNR and invited views on:

  • the need for upfront strategic planning of offshore wind generation
  • the need for holistic network design and the fundamental design choices
  • the possible delivery models
  • the timing of transmission delivery
  • whether any adjustment may be required to the legal framework governing MPIs

We are publishing 2 separate government responses to this consultation:

  • the first (published 25 April 2022) is to the MPI section
  • the second will address the Enduring Regime section and will be published later in 2022

The Department has determined that aspects of the existing licensing and legal framework are unlikely to be suitable for an enduring solution for MPIs and will therefore require modification. To enable legal and regulatory clarity for the enduring regime, we are considering how to introduce a new licensable activity into the Electricity Act 1989 for the operation of an MPI and whether an associated definition of an MPI asset is necessary. We will introduce legislation when Parliamentary time allows.

The Department supports:

  • the amendments made by Ofgem to the licence conditions for both the interconnector-led and OFTO-led approaches outlined in their consultation
  • Ofgem’s intention to enable early opportunities MPIs under a pilot cap and floor scheme

Detail of feedback received

We received 53 responses, of which 21 addressed the questions on MPIs. Responses came from:

  • developers
  • transmission owners
  • system operators
  • other government departments
  • non-governmental organisations

Original consultation

Summary

We're seeking views on a new enduring regime for windfarm development and offshore transmission.

This consultation ran from
to

Consultation description

The current offshore transmission regime takes a developer-led approach to designing and delivering offshore transmission, which has resulted in individual connections for each windfarm, and dates from when offshore wind was a nascent sector.

With rapidly increasing scale of deployment the cumulative impact of individual transmission links on the environment and local communities is no longer fit for purpose and could pose a major barrier to future deployment.

We are consulting on proposals to develop a new enduring regime that takes a more strategic approach to windfarm development and considers the offshore transmission system holistically with the onshore network to deliver a more coordinated approach and reduce the cumulative impacts of transmission. The consultation sets out:

  • a range of possible approaches for an enduring regime, ranging from incremental change to a completely new regime
  • a provisional recommendation that a more strategic approach is required in any future regime to achieve the Review’s objectives
  • possible models for an enduring regime and their high-level assessment against agreed criteria

We are not seeking to lock in a specific model at the moment, but will use your feedback to inform further detailed assessment of individual options. We will then consult again on the detail later in 2021.

The consultation is open to anyone to respond, but will be of particular interest to:

  • offshore and floating wind developers
  • oil and gas, and hydrogen sectors
  • interconnector developers
  • offshore wind technology providers
  • offshore transmission operators (OFTOs), transmission operators (TOs), system operator (SO)
  • environmental and community groups
  • individual stakeholders from regions particularly affected by offshore wind deployment such as East Anglia, devolved administrations

Read the BEIS consultation privacy notice.

Please don’t send responses by post to the department at the moment as we may not be able to access them.

Documents

Published 28 September 2021
Last updated 25 April 2022 + show all updates
  1. Government response on the multi-purpose interconnector (MPI) section of the consultation published.

  2. First published.