Politics

SNP calls for cuts to electricity transmission costs to help Scottish renewable sector flourish

THE SNP have stepped up calls for the UK Government to lower electricity transmission charges the party says are the biggest barrier to a Scottish renewable energy boom. 

House of Commons library figures show Scotland has almost 52 per cent of the total grid network in Great Britain, with 9,300 kilometres, compared to 8,700km in England & Wales.

However energy producers are “unfairly penalised” by a UK transmission charge system which sees them pay the most in Great Britain despite having more efficient grid systems.

In May, a report by the Renewable Infrastructure Development Group, a firm developing wind energy projects, estimated transmission charges are by far the highest in Scotland. 

In the North of Scotland transmission area they equal £7.36 per megawatt hour (MWh), £4.70 in the South of Scotland transmission area, and only 49 pence in England & Wales. 

In southern England generators, get paid to connect to the grid.

The report said the Scottish charges were by far the highest in Europe despite Scotland having up to a quarter of Europe’s wind resources and 60% of the UK’s offshore wind capacity.

SNP MP Alan Brown said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous that Scotland faces higher transmission charges, despite having the greatest potential in Europe for offshore wind; floating offshore wind, tidal stream generation and other opportunities such a pumped storage hydro.

“It’s even more ridiculous when we consider that we are only a few weeks after a major environmental conference held in Scotland to tackle climate change. With 25% of Europe’s wind resources and 60% of the UK’s offshore wind capacity, Scotland could be a world leader in renewable energy and a powerhouse for Europe.

“And it goes beyond ridiculous that Westminster sticks by this policy when its own statistics, published by its energy department, suggest Scotland’s transmission losses could be even lower.

“These damaging UK government charges are the highest in Europe – leaving Scotland at a major disadvantage to other European operators, blocking billions of pounds of investment and the creation of crucial green jobs. Westminster’s sky high transmission charges are the biggest barrier to Scotland’s renewable potential. 

“Until these UK government charges are scrapped once and for all, Scotland will be left at a significant disadvantage to other European operators – with the cost to Scottish operators set to rise even further in the years ahead as a result of Westminster’s negligence.”

The energy regulator Ofgem recently consulted on transmission charging, but has yet to report the outcome of the exercise.

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