Penny wise, millions foolish – a lesson in the cost of not using expert advisors in energy scheme developments
A solar developer had used under-qualified, in-house resource to achieve a grid connection offer for a solar farm site. To be fair to them, it was a cost-viable grid offer for a beautiful site – and so the developer stood to make a lot of money… but, getting a grid offer is only part of a long and complex process. Securing, safeguarding and defending the grid rights is fundamental if a scheme is to come to full, financial fruition.
Missed a crucial stage
The developer’s in-house team member was apparently only superficially experienced in grid rights. The mistake they made in this instance was to accept the grid offer but to fail to meet the initial stage payment (grid deposit) deadline. The Network Operator withdrew the offer – and the valuable grid capacity – and any chance for that scheme was therefore finished.
What should they have done?
The developer should have had robust systems and processes in place to make sure they addressed every compulsory deadline and milestone – and there are many of them between a connection offer and the energisation of a scheme. Not accepting the offer in time or in the appropriate format, not paying the grid deposit on time and by an approved means, not responding to Distribution Network Operator’s (DNO’s) triggers, not moving the scheme forward and not keeping the DNO informed of progress against and towards milestones are fundamental failings. Miss a deadline and it can be the end of the line for a scheme
The moral of the story
The developer came to us too late; they’d already lost the available grid capacity on that part of the network. They’d used their generalist in-house team, didn’t have a grid specialist looking after their grid connection rights, and they didn’t have robust processes in place to reduce human error as far as is practicable.
If they’d outsourced to the right experts at the start, they’d have given themselves the best chance of achieving and maintaining a cost-viable connection offer – and monetising their project rights.