Some 200 energy projects are currently backed up awaiting grid connection.

Around a quarter of the power in the queue would comes from renewable sources.

Energy and Climate secretary Ed Miliband has recognised the problem and proposed new rules to fast-track connection, with particular emphasis on renewables.

The previous system gave power generators a connection date on a first come, first served basis, meaning projects that take a long time to deliver such as large scale coal or nuclear plants are effectively ‘bed blocking’ those that are far quicker to install, such as wind farms.

Some renewable energy projects were facing a wait of several years for connection once complete, destroying investor confidence.

Ed Miliband said: “Access to the electricity grid has been one of the key barriers to the generation of renewable energy in this country. We are determined to resolve this issue. That is why we took powers to do so in the Energy Act and today we are setting out our proposals.

“We need these new projects to get hooked up to the grid as soon as they are ready – both to help tackle climate change and secure our future energy supplies.

“The government will do whatever is necessary to bring about the transition to a low carbon economy and to give investors the certainty they need so that new renewable energy generation is built.”

The Minister’s proposals have been outlined in a consultation document which asks industry which of three queue-busting options would be most appropriate.

The choices effectively come down to who should pay for connection – those being connected, or all users of the grid.

The consultation can be found at http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/open/open.aspx.

Sam Bond

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