Updated links for Grid Connection procedures and documents - see Technical Information section of Useful Information page
An update on the status of the EA consultation on hydropower regulation
The EA has been facilitating a year of meetings around their consultation on hydropower regulation (see previous news items) prior to issuing an updated “Good practice guidance for small and micro-scale hydropower”. The meetings have included stakeholders from the hydropower industry (BHA and mha), fisheries and other habitat interests, heritage organisations, and government departments. The revised guidelines (“GPG2”) were due to be published in early 2012.
At a meeting on 24th February, the EA presented a proposal describing options for managing flow regimes in all types of watercourse. This has been a topic of hot debate but the latest proposal was firmly rejected by the hydropower stakeholders as being a step backwards from the existing guidelines and from what had been discussed, for both low and high head schemes. There were also concerns from fisheries interests on the proposals for on-weir schemes.
The result is likely to be a delay in the publication of the revised guidelines (the EA will in due course have the final say in what regime they will operate), and the EA response to the consultation.
The concerns from the mha have been around the lack of a proportionate approach to licensing micro hydro schemes and about the EA’s interpretation of the applicability of the Water Framework Directive to small scale watercourses. These have not yet been resolved either.
This is a disappointing result after so many meetings and paper reviews over the last year. DEFRA and DECC are now taking an increasing interest in the consultation exercise and there may need to be more political involvement.
Gemserv have published an updated (20/02/2012:) version of the "Standard" for installers
Ofgem consultation on transmission issues
Ofgem have published a letter inviting comments on transmission issues and their control of pricing. I have offered to assist in the consultation and will be asking for support from members. This could be an opportunity to raise issues micro hydro schemes are having with the restrictions placed by DNOs on embedded generation and with delays and high costs.
Please add comments here if you have encountered such issues.
Draft for response to Feed-in Tariff DECC consultation
I am in the process of responding to the “Feed-in Tariffs Scheme – Consultation on Comprehensive Review Phase 2B: tariffs for non-PV technologies and scheme administration issues”.
The comprehensive FiT review follows a strategy review for Microgeneration in 2010/2011 to which I submitted a response. In my opinion an opportunity is being missed at this point to address issues with the FiT scheme as applied to micro hydro schemes. I had hoped that a broader consultation on the FiT scheme would have addressed these issues.
I am therefore planning to submit a response in two parts:
I will attempt to incorporate your suggestions before my final submission (due 26th April 2012). I also encourage you to respond to the consultation yourself online at this DECC web page or using the consultation response template.
A related paper is still outstanding to be published on this DECC webpage: “the draft Impact assessment will be available here shortly”. This may result in further comments.
I am working on the wider proposal and will decide later on how to pursue this.
Feed-in Tariff April 2012 - March 2013
Ofgem have published the revised tariff today
11th February 2012 Feed-in Tariff Comprehensive Review - Consultation
I attended a roundtable meeting on 9th February where Greg Barker announced the review to representatives from the industries affected by the Feed-in Tariff and invited initial comments. The consultation (link here) is now under way. I will be submitting a response on behalf of the mha and will shortly post a draft here for input from members. Final responses are due by 26 April 2012.
I was not able to download the papers before the meeting so will be responding to the Minister in writing with initial impressions this weekend. When I spoke to him at the meeting he told me he was keen to see more micro hydro development and that he had earlier spoken in Parliament. This is what he said at the end of his question time (mostly concerning solar technology):
"This package of measures is good news for hydro. We are very ambitious for the hydro sector . . ."
I am encouraged that the team at DECC are now taking a more flexible approach to the Feed-in Tariff and that there will be greater certainty and in due course less red tape for micro hydro.
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