Small Scale Generation Grid Connection Information Pack. 1 st October 2015

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1 Small Scale Generation Grid Connection Information Pack 1 st October 2015

2 Factors to consider for a Renewable Energy Project The success of a renewable energy project involves bringing many individual factors together as shown in the jigsaw puzzle above. The connection of your renewable energy scheme to the Northern Ireland Electricity Networks grid is only one factor to consider in your overall project. This information pack will take you through the key factors that need to be considered and the steps required when obtaining a grid connection. 22/02/20165 Small Scale Generation Grid Connection Information Pack 2

3 Connecting Small Scale Generation to the Electricity Network As renewable energy technologies including wind turbines, anaerobic digesters, hydro and PV become more mature and common; there is an increasing demand on Northern Ireland Electricity Networks (NIE Networks) to provide connections to the Northern Ireland network. Significant levels of small scale generation have already been committed on the distribution network, leading to network saturation and high costs for further connections in some areas. Prospective applicants may wish to refer to the NIE Networks website for further useful information on congested areas and general information on connection issues. For information on the quantities of connected generation visit: Where a developer wishes to connect and operate a generator in parallel with the NIE Networks network, the developer must apply to NIE Networks for connection. Once a connection application is successfully processed the developer will then enter into a connection agreement with NIE Networks. The following information sheets outline the process, application fees and, approximate timescales for obtaining a connection offer to connect a generating unit to the NIE Networks distribution system. Customers or their installers are required to register their project online via the NIE Networks web site, at to obtain a full application pack. Alternatively, NIE Networks can be contacted by post at the address below: Summary of the Contents in this information pack: 1. General Safety Information 2. Feasibility Study and Fees Central Processing and Registration Northern Ireland Electricity Networks 57 Dargan Road Belfast BT3 9JU Small Scale Generation Connection Process 4. Application Information and Fees 5. Connection Application Design 6. Pre-Construction and Construction Works 7. Timescales for Grid Connection 8. Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) 9. Complaints Annex 1- Relevant Legislation 22/02/20165 Small Scale Generation Grid Connection Information Pack 3

4 1. General Safety Information NIE Networks would draw your attention to the considerable danger associated with working in the vicinity of electrical equipment, whether underground or overhead. The greatest care must be exercised not to come into contact or to bring materials, equipment, appliances or tools too close to electrical equipment, otherwise workers and indeed other persons not directly concerned may be subject to very grave risk, which may lead to a serious or even fatal accident. Site safety must be in accordance with HSE Guidance Note GS6 (Avoidance of Danger from Overhead Electric Lines) and HSE Booklet HS(G)47 (Avoiding Danger from Underground Services). Further information can be found on the NIE Networks safety website at or at Clearance to NIE Networks Distribution Network (Diagram 1) Diagram 1 22/02/20165 Small Scale Generation Grid Connection Information Pack 4

5 Clearance to NIE Networks Transmission Network (Diagram 2) Diagram 2 22/02/20165 Small Scale Generation Grid Connection Information Pack 5

6 2. Feasibility Study and Fees To facilitate customers wishing to connect and export energy generated to the electricity network, NIE Networks offers to carry out a feasibility study for projects that are at an initial investment appraisal stage. This study is optional and provides information to help a customer develop their own business plan. To complete a feasibility study for a particular project NIE Networks will require you to complete NIE Networks Generator Enquiry Form and forward it to NIE Networks with the appropriate non-refundable fee see below. A copy of the generator's electrical data sheet may also be attached if this is available. Generation Maximum installed Capacity Feasibility Study Fee 150kW or less 566 More than 150kW 1,132 All fees listed are exclusive of VAT which should be added at the current tax point rate of 20%. Cheques should be made payable to Northern Ireland Electricity Networks Ltd. NOTE: The cost to apply for a feasibility study is linked to the Statement of Charges that is currently approved and may be subject to change in line with future approved Statement of Charges. Only on receipt of both the fee and adequate technical information will NIE Networks progress a feasibility study. It may take NIE Networks up to three months to provide a feasibility study following receipt of all required information and appropriate payment. The feasibility study will consider the most appropriate connection arrangement at your specific location, at that point in time, and details of the work required to provide connection for the requested capacity and technology. The feasibility study will provide potential developers with: an indication that a connection is achievable an indicative cost for providing a suitable network connection and an outline of the work involved in constructing the connection including information on: connection voltage level connection point to the NIE Networks electricity network details of the connection arrangement This will help applicants to decide if they wish to proceed with their project as planned. Applicants should be aware that a feasibility study does not reserve network capacity for a particular project, and NIE Networks cannot guarantee that a connection will be available when an applicant makes a formal application for connection. The study is effectively a snapshot at a point in time. 3. Small Scale Generation Connection Process Diagram 3 provides an overview of the process for applying to NIE Networks for a small scale generation connection and outlines the basic steps to be worked through. The diagram highlights where connection offers may be impacted by capacity issues and extensions on the timeframe to make a connection offer may be sought by NIE Networks. It also explains the process which NIE Networks works through once an offer has been accepted by an applicant. More detail on this in Section (6) - Pre-Construction & Construction works. 22/02/20165 Small Scale Generation Grid Connection Information Pack 6

7 Small Scale Generation Process (Diagram 3) 22/02/20165 Small Scale Generation Grid Connection Information Pack 7

8 4. Application Information and Fees A grid connection application (leading to an offer) is available to all customers. There is no requirement to have a feasibility study carried out before making a connection application. When a connection application is received by NIE Networks, it is registered and given a unique job reference number. The applicant will be informed of this number in writing and should quote this number when inquiring about their application. This study is a full technical appraisal and requires the applicant to submit a formal application (referred to as the NIE Networks Generator Questionnaire) including the full technical specification of the generator being connected and the appropriate non-refundable fee. Relevant Connection Application Fees (CAF) can be found in the Statement of Charges at the following link: NOTE: The cost to apply for a grid connection application is linked to the Statement of Charges that is currently approved and may be subject to change to future approved Statement of Charges. Customer Category Connection Application Fee NIE Networks fee s: A B C Customer requiring a generation capacity of less than or equal to 20kW: e.g. 10kW application fee = Category A = 566 (+VAT) 566 Customer requiring a generation capacity of more than 20kW and less than or equal to 150kW: 1,697 e.g. 150kW application fee = Category B = 1,697 (+VAT) Customer requiring a generation capacity of more than 150kW and less than or equal to 2MW: 5,659 e.g. 250kW application fee = Category C = 5,659 (+VAT) All the fees listed above are exclusive of VAT which should be added at the current tax point rate of 20%. Application fees may be paid by cheque and BACS. Cheques should be made payable to Northern Ireland Electricity Networks Ltd. 22/02/20165 Small Scale Generation Grid Connection Information Pack 8

9 The application will be checked to ensure it contains: Completed Generator Questionnaire and all documentation referred to within the questionnaire Technical specifications of generators typically including: Flicker co-efficient Starting currents and type of starter for each generator installed Impedance data for each generator installed and connecting network to the point of connection Harmonic studies Single line diagram 1: 25000, 1:2500 and 1:500 scale site location plans Site layout plan, including proposed substation location Easting and Northing co-ordinates of each generator Easting and Northing co-ordinates of customer substation Generator Capacity along with Maximum Export Capacity (MEC) 1 Required The relevant Connection Application Fee If Maximum Import Capacity (MIC) 2 >200kVA then load details required If the application does not have all the required information, NIE Networks will write to the applicant and request this information. In relation to timeline to make the offer, the job will be put on hold until all this information is received. Planning permission is no longer a pre-requisite for an application, however if you do have planning permission for your development (or do not require planning permission), please send evidence of this and any relevant details. Following the receipt of all information and payment, the connection study may take up to three months to complete. Should you proceed with the proposal; the appropriate Network Connection & Capacity Study fee will be deducted from the final connection charge, provided the project is completed within three years from the initial date of application. The connection offer will outline the connection voltage, connection costs, terms and conditions for connection and details of the work required to provide the connection for the requested capacity and technology. 1 Maximum Export Capacity is the value you are requesting to be recorded against Your connection in NIE Networks system as the maximum capacity that can be generated/exported by your connection 2 Maximum Import Capacity means the value recorded against Your connection in NIE Networks system as the maximum capacity that can be used/imported by your connection 22/02/20165 Small Scale Generation Grid Connection Information Pack 9

10 5. Connection Application Design At the preliminary design stage, consideration will be given to whether there is capacity to connect the generator to the NIE Networks Distribution system. If there is not capacity to connect your generator at present, NIE Networks will write to you and offer the option of either cancelling your application and receiving a refund, or remaining in the process until an offer can be made at some future date. If you chose to remain in the process until an offer can be made then NIE Networks will seek an extension from the Utility Regulator on the time to make a connection offer. For more information on capacity issues in your area refer to the NIE Networks Heat Map: Heat-Map If there is capacity to connect your generator, a detailed design will be carried out to determine how the generator would be connected, including: Studies to determine technical feasibility Plant requirements including Switchgear Protection requirements Overhead Line route (and options) Underground cable route Environmental considerations/constraints Civil works Scada and Communications requirements Site visits will carried out to the determine site specific requirements The offer will then be issued to the applicant within 90 days. It will include Details of the connection design with diagrams The cost of the connection and connection offer validity period. Details of how to accept the offer and the necessary deposit required Estimated timeframe for completion- see Section (7) This offer is valid for 90 days from the date of issue and the applicant must forward their acceptance of terms and deposit to NIE Networks within this 90 day period. Once the offer has been accepted and the deposit paid, NIE Networks will proceed with the activities required to connect the generator to the Distribution System. More detail on this in Section (6) - Pre- Construction & Construction works. If the offer is not accepted within the stipulated 90 day period, then the application will become void and the applicant will need to re-apply if they wish to continue to pursue a connection. NOTE: The costs of your grid connection will be linked to the Statement of Charges that is approved at that point in time when the offer is made, and may be subject to change to future approved Statement of Charges if a final balance or re-quote is required. 22/02/20165 Small Scale Generation Grid Connection Information Pack 10

11 6. Pre-Construction & Construction Works The cost basis of the connection depends on the extent of the construction work required to connect the scheme along with any appropriate reinforcement necessary to maintain the electricity network within statutory voltage and reactive power limits. If your generator is located at the extremity of the 11,000 volt network, the cost is likely to be greater than a location closer to a primary substation. The level of generation already connected, or committed to connect, will also impact on any network rebuild required to maintain the distribution network within statutory limits. This makes it difficult to provide indicative costs that can be used as a guide by prospective applicants. For more information on likely connection costs in your area refer to the NIE Networks Heat Map: Heat-Map Please refer to the Statement of Charges for Connection to the Northern Ireland Distribution System for indications of costs for connection: Oct.aspx When you accept the Terms of Connection of Generation and make any necessary payment, NIE Networks will: Complete a full survey of the route Seek to obtain wayleaves from landowners Seek to obtain DOE Planning Permission for overhead line work. Obtain DETI Article 40 consent for the overhead line if required. Procure major items of plant Agree suitable earthing design for the site. Complete necessary legalities including substation lease, cable easements and right of way if required Final construction and energisation works Generation however cannot begin until both the owner of the generator and NIE Networks have signed the Generator Agreement (which will be supplied by NIE Networks). The Agreement must be signed by you, witnessed and returned to NIE Networks. Your installer is required to complete G59 3 testing and submit the test results and Schedule 1A form (supplied by NIE Networks along with your connection offer) to NIE Networks for approval. If approved, NIE Networks will sign the Generator Agreement and schedule 1A form and return a copy to you for your records. 3 NIE Networks Engineering Recommendation G59/1/NI 22/02/20165 Small Scale Generation Grid Connection Information Pack 11

12 7. Timescales for Grid Connection Typical Timescale where Planning Permission for linework is not required Acceptance to Construction Application to Procurement of Plant & Equipment Quotation Survey Legalities & Construction 3 months 2 3 months 4 6 months Average time for connection is approx. 6 months but could take up to 9 months, depending on earthing requirements, legalities and ordering of equipment. These timescales are subject to NIE Networks being able to: - Procure major items of plant in 5 months DOE Planning Permission & Wayleaves not being required Achieve a suitable earthing design for the site. Typical Timescale where Planning Permission for linework is required Application Acceptance to Construction to Quotation Survey & Wayleaves Procurement of Plant & Equipment Planning Permission Legalities & Construction 3 months 2 6 months 4 6 months 4 6 months Average time for connection is approx 12 months, but could take up to 18 months depending on earthing requirements, legalities and ordering of equipment. These timescales are subject to NIE Networks being able to: - Obtain wayleaves from Landowners Obtain DOE Planning Permission for overhead line work. Procure major items of plant in 5 months Achieve a suitable earthing design for the site. 22/02/20165 Small Scale Generation Grid Connection Information Pack 12

13 and will be impacted by the extent of line build and consenting requirements. 8. Renewable Obligation Certificates The Renewables Obligation (RO) is the main support mechanism for renewable electricity projects in the UK. It places an obligation on all UK suppliers of electricity to source an increasing proportion of their electricity from renewable sources. A Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) is a green certificate issued by OFGEM to an accredited renewable energy generator for eligible renewable electricity generated within the United Kingdom and supplied to customers within the United Kingdom by a licensed electricity supplier. In Northern Ireland OFGEM manage the ROC administration process on behalf of the Nl Utility Regulator. For further information you can contact: Utility Regulator, Queens House, 14 Queen Street, Belfast, Bt1 6ED - Tel No: or log on to their website DETI, Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment, Netherleigh, Massey Avenue, Belfast BT4 2JP - Tel No: or log on to their website 9. Complaints At NIE Networks, customer service is very important to us. However, if you are unhappy with any aspect of our customer service you can submit a complaint: Online: visit Our customer helpline, , is open from 8am-5pm, Monday- Friday. In writing to: Customer Relations Manager Northern Ireland Electricity Networks Limited Carn Industrial Estate Portadown, BT63 5QJ Consumer Council If your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction or if at any time you are unhappy with our response, the Consumer Council, an independent body, may be able to help: Online : visit By phone In writing to: The Consumer Council Floor 3, Seatem House, Alfred street Belfast, BT2 8EN 22/02/20165 Small Scale Generation Grid Connection Information Pack 13

14 Relevant legislation regarding connections includes: ANNEX 1- LEGISLATION The Electricity (Northern Ireland) Order 1992 o Article 19- Duty to connect on request o Article 20- Procedure for requiring a connection o Article 21- Exceptions from duty to connect NIE Networks Distribution Licence. o Condition 30- Requirement to Offer terms for Connection to and Use of Distribution System 22/02/20165 Small Scale Generation Grid Connection Information Pack 14

15 Applications should be sent in hard copy to: Central Processing & Registration Northern Ireland Electricity Networks Limited 57 Dargan Road BELFAST BT3 9JU Telephone: nienetworks.co.uk 22/02/20165 Small Scale Generation Grid Connection Information Pack 15

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