The Energy Bill has received Royal Assent, following a number of rounds of “ping-pong” between the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Under the Energy Act 2016, the Renewable Obligation scheme will close to new onshore wind projects and (additional capacity) from 12 May 2016, subject to a number of grace periods, as set out below.
Onshore Wind Grace Periods
To be eligible for the primary grace period, the Approved Development Condition grace period (“ADC”), projects must provide the following evidence to Ofgem:
- planning permission dated no later than 18th June 2015 and evidence that no condition as to the time period within which the development must have begun has been breached
- a grid connection offer, accepted no later than 18th June 2015 and
- a Director’s Certificate confirming that, as at 18th June 2015, the developer or proposed operator of the station either:
- owns the land on which the station is to be situated
- has an option or agreement to lease the land or
- is party to an exclusivity agreement in relation to the land
In addition, projects must commission and submit an application for accreditation by 31 March 2017.
Extended grace periods are also available where the ADC is met in combination with either the Investment Freezing Condition and/or the Grid/Radar Delay grace period, with the ultimate date for submitting an application for accreditation being 31 January 2019 where a combination of grace periods can be relied upon by a project. Alternatively, a Grid/Radar Delay grace period can be utilised for 12 months following the date of Royal Assent of the Energy Act 2016 without meeting the ADC.
Evidence must be received by Ofgem on or before the closing date of the relevant grace period, and Ofgem has confirmed that grace period evidence will not be reviewed prior to an application for accreditation.