The UK’s energy regulator Ofgem has released draft guidance regarding the early closure of the RO scheme to new onshore wind projects and to additional capacity added to existing stations. Stakeholders have been invited to provide feedback on the draft guidance, with the consultation due to close on 25 March 2016.

The draft guidance sets out the proposed administration of the RO closure to onshore wind and the process for applying for the relevant grace periods. The draft guidance is based on the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s amendments to the Energy Bill 2015-16 tabled by the Government on 19 January 2016 which will amend the Electricity Act 1989. The closure is expected to come into operation on 1 April 2016. As the Energy Bill is yet to receive Royal Assent, the draft guidance is subject to change should any changes be made to the legislation before it comes in to force.

Examples of the evidence that must be provided to satisfy the approved development condition, grid and radar delay, and investment freezing condition grace period criteria is set out in the draft guidance. In addition, information regarding the administrative process for ‘excluded capacity’ (i.e. additional capacity which is not eligible under the RO scheme), the application process, template declarations, and clarity surrounding any relevant dates to be complied with are all detailed in the draft guidance.

The draft guidance makes clear that the application for full accreditation, provision of grace period evidence and project commissioning must occur prior to the relevant grace period closure date in order for a project’s application for accreditation to be considered. Furthermore, it is noted that eligibility for a grace period will not be reviewed by Ofgem until submission of an application for full accreditation.

The draft guidance can be found by clicking here.