Transmission license exemptions grant UK offshore wind farm generators time to complete ownership transfer, says GlobalData

With the onset of COVID-19, the UK Government proposed time-bound exemptions for wind project generators in tender rounds 5 and 6 of the Offshore Transmission Owner (OFTO) regime. GlobalData anticipates that the exemption is likely to provide the developers of the projects that were impacted by the virus valuable time to execute the transfer process.

Somik Das, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “With the lockdown in-situ, there was a scarcity of working personnel. Now, because the lockdowns are gradually being lifted within the UK, movement is predicted to be restrained for some time. Conventional working practices are still impacted and uncertainties looming in the near term are expected to cumulatively delay any ownership transfers.”

The Beatrice project was nearest to the end of its commissioning period, with the date set for October this year. Social distancing norms in the UK have hindered the project’s transfer, and, although things are expected to be back to shape by the end of the year, the cloud of uncertainty still looms ahead. An extension to the timeline is anticipated to bring utmost relief to the current owner.

Das continues: “In this Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) model, the new owners after the transfer might need to rework project finances to account for any potential delay. In addition, the average monthly electricity price had been on the decline since March, and, as economic activities resume and demand normalizes, electricity tariffs are likely to improve. This tariff increase will benefit the new owners by way of improved revenues.”

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