UK's Ofgem reviews survey rules

UK energy regulator Ofgem is considering changing the terms of its generation licence after RWE withdrew an application to carry out survey work on land in Lincolnshire for its 900MW Triton Knoll offshore wind farm.

The regulator said it will look at whether the rules over granting compulsory access to land for survey purposes should be widened to include transmission assets.

Under the current licence, a developer can only exercise its right of entry if it is for the purpose of seeing whether the land is suitable for construction or extension of a generating station.

The German developer had hoped to gain compulsory  access to land to determine its suitability for onshore transmission infrastructure for Triton Knoll.

Jacob Hain, project manager for Triton Knoll at RWE Innogy UK, cited "uncertainty" when withdrawing the company's application and said: "We do not believe it can have been the intention that the powers of compulsory entry afforded by the generation licence should be narrower in their scope than the powers of compulsory purchase."

Ofgem has since decided to undertake a review of the relevant conditions in the generation licence and "to consider whether modification of the generation licence would be appropriate," it said.

Ofgem said there are a number of issues with the current licence, including that it does not refer to all activities and is unclear concerning the installation of power lines and the preparatory work needed for that.

"We welcome Ofgem's review of the relevant conditions in the generation licence which they confirmed following the withdrawal of our application for consent to access third party land to carry out onshore surveys," Hain said of the new development.