Updates to the queue management process: TMO4+

4 minute read
29 May 2024

On 16 April 2024, National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) proposed changes to the queue management process (TMO4+).

National Grid is currently struggling to keep pace with the number of projects that require connection to the transmission network. According to ESO, the transmission queue has grown by more than 275GW and has been growing at an average of over 20GW for the past 12 months and is likely to exceed 800GW by the end of 2024. As a result, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) in its Connections Action Plan (CAP) insisted that further changes to the queue management were needed to accelerate the process.

In an update on 5 December 2023 (TMO4), the ESO made clear there would be an early application window with an indicative frequency and duration of 12 months and there would be two "gates", Gates 1 and 2. Gate 1 would provide connection offers to projects based on a co-ordinated network design connection date and Gate 2 would be used to determine queue position for projects within the application window and accelerate eligible projects along their connection timeline. This process would go live and apply to all new generation and demand connection applications from January 2025 onwards. 

Retrospective application

A major change under the new proposals (TMO4+) is the reforms are planned to be applied retrospectively so the new measures will be applied to all projects in the existing queue and new applications from January 2025. Projects in the existing queue will be given a "period of time" prior to TMO4+'s implementation to demonstrate they meet the Gate 2 criteria.

Gates 1 and 2

TMO4+ will be a gated process made up of an early application window, Gate 1 and Gate 2. Following the early application window, projects will be assessed for competency under Gate 1 and given an indicative connection date and indicative connection point. Gate 1 projects will not be allocated supporting transmission reinforcement works, will no longer be subject to User Commitment liabilities and securities and will not have to adhere to Queue Management Milestones.

Then, only projects that meet the eligibility criteria under Gate 2 will be granted a position in the queue. So far, the ESO has proposed eligibility criteria around projects:

  • having secured land rights for the proposed location; and
  • dates for submission of applications for planning consent.

More criteria are expected to be proposed as part of the code modification process. Where capacity has been freed up by projects that have been removed from the queue, projects that meet the Gate 2 criteria will be offered an earlier connection date. ESO will assess projects for eligibility for Gate 2 in groups and Gate 2 projects will be required to demonstrate their progress via the Queue Management process.

Further consultation

ESO intends to consult further with wider industry stakeholders for them to comment on their proposals at various stakeholder events. It has also run a consultation on the aims and proposed next steps for TMO4+. ESO next plans to submit urgent Code Modification Proposals to the Codes and Licences Conditions to Ofgem for approval to implement the changes and, assuming they are treated as urgent, expect Ofgem to make a decision by October 2024. Stakeholders will have until then to make comments on the reforms.

If you need advice in relation to the queue management process, our team of energy specialists can provide assistance. Please contact Russell Evans or James Stanier for more information.

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