On 14 June 2016 the Commission for Energy Regulation (“CER”), the Irish energy regulator, published a decision paper on MEC Security Policy Amendments (the “Decision Paper”). The Decision Paper outlines the CER’s decision on the Systems Operator’s (“SO”) proposals on the administration of Capacity Bonds under grid connection agreements.

Background

Under the existing regime, generators are required to provide security of €25,000 per MW of their Maximum Export Capacity (“MEC”). This must be provided one month prior to the energisation date of their project or two years from the Consents Issue Date, whichever is the earliest.

Generators currently then have one year from energisation to export at least 95% of their MEC for a duration of at least 30 minutes and for this to be confirmed in a test by the SOs (known as “Capacity Test B”). An Operational Certificate issued by the SOs is conditional on the generator achieving its Capacity Tests and passing the Grid Code Tests.

Significance of the Consultation Paper

The important aspects of the CER’s Decision Paper are summarised below.

  • Operational Certificate Link: the current link between the MEC security and achieving an Operational Certificate post Capacity Test B should be broken. The Decision paper proposes that the Grid Code should manage operational status.
  • Capacity Testing Period: the Capacity Testing Period should be extended from twelve months to twelve months plus one month, for large wind farms.
  • Term of MEC Security Requirement: the term for MEC security should be three months after the end of the Capacity Testing Period to allow for administration requirements.

Next steps

The CER will engage with the SOs to monitor the implementation of this decision and the SOs will provide an update at the next Generator Connections Liaison Group.