1. Eligibility and evidence
In order to be eligible for the proposed grace period, we have said that projects will need to demonstrate they satisfy all of the grace period conditions as of the date of the announcement, i.e. 18 June 2015.
We envisage that the proposed grace period will apply to projects which are able to:
- demonstrate that they have relevant planning consents dated no later than the date of the announcement (18 June 2015);
- demonstrate that they have a grid connection offer and acceptance of that offer, both dated no later than the date of the announcement; or confirmation that no grid connection is required; and
- provide a Director’s Certificate confirming that, as at the date of announcement, the developer or proposed operator of the station owns the land on which the station is to be situated OR has an option or agreement to lease the land OR is party to an exclusivity agreement in relation to the land.
2. Length of grace period
Projects that qualify for the proposed early closure grace period will be able to accredit under the RO up to 31 March 2017, the original RO closure date. Such projects will be able to accredit by 31 March 2018 under one of the existing grace periods for projects affected by a grid or aviation delay provided they also satisfy the eligibility criteria for at least one of those grace periods.
3. Applying for the grace period
We would envisage that projects will be able to apply for the grace period once the relevant legislation is in force (subject to the will of Parliament).
4. Feedback on early closure of the RO and the grace period proposals
We will not be holding a formal consultation on our proposals because they will be subject to full Parliamentary scrutiny as the Energy Bill makes its passage through Parliament. Further to the Secretary of State’s announcement of 18 June, we would welcome information and views from the onshore wind industry and other affected stakeholders before framing the terms of the legislation.
We invite onshore wind developers to tell us about any of their projects affected by our proposals. In particular, we are interested in hearing from developers with projects that are currently in the planning system, but which have not yet secured planning consent, and to receive information and evidence relating to:
- the stage that such projects have reached in the planning process, anticipated final planning decision dates, and expenditure incurred on projects as at the date of the Secretary of State’s announcement;
- project timetables and anticipated dates for securing a grid connection offer and acceptance; and
- the prospects of such projects being in a position to accredit under the RO by 31 March 2017 and expected final investment decision dates.
Information and views provided, including personal information, may be subject to publication or disclosure in accordance with the access to information legislation (primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004).
If you want information that you provide to be treated as confidential please say so clearly in writing. It would be helpful if you could explain to us why you regard the information you have provided as confidential. If we receive a request for disclosure of the information we will take full account of your explanation but we cannot provide assurance that confidentiality will be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not, of itself, be regarded by us as a confidentiality request
5. Next steps
We plan to bring forward primary legislation to implement the final policy later in this session of Parliament.