On the 10th of June 2020 the ECP-2 (Energy Connection Policy Stage 2) decision document was published by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).
As recent national and European policy has begun to evolve to favour the expansion of the renewable energy sector, developers have found that one of the main limiting factors when developing a project is access and connection to the national grid.
This has especially become critical when considering that a secured grid connection is a prerequisite of a project being allowed to participate in the RESS auctions, which can provide considerable financial support to the development.
The ECP-2 decision proposes to address the large number of projects in competition to secure a connection to the grid and promote the renewable sector by providing a total target of 115 offers per batch period and if oversubscribed, prioritising connections for shovel-ready and large-scale projects and therefore aiding the Government’s Climate Action Plan aims of having 70% renewable energy generation by 2030. The ECP decision also requires a project have planning permission to apply for grid.
Similar to the RESS auction, the ECP-2 decision also aims to promote community-led projects by providing lower application costs and a target of 15 community led grid connections per batch. However, the definition of “community-led” projects differs between RESS and ECP-2.
The first ECP application window (ECP-2.1) is planned to take place in September 2020.