National Grid in Longannet energy talks

Longannet Power Station is facing possibility of closure. Picture: Gary Hutchison

Longannet Power Station is facing possibility of closure. Picture: Gary Hutchison

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THE National Grid has revealed it is in talks with the closure-threatened Longannet power station to see if the coal-fired plant can help maintain voltage levels in the electricity supply from April this year.

A letter from Director of Transmission Network Services Mike Calviou says discussions have been held with “thermal generators” in Scotland about ensuring the electricity supply is uninterrupted in the short term.

The Scotsman understands that talks - which are about a contract for voltage support from April 2016 - have been held with Longannet, owned by ScottishPower and the Peterhead power station owned by SSE.

According to the National Grid, the extra voltage from the power stations would be required until the completion of the Western Link HVDC power linking, connecting Scotland and England and the Beauly Denny line in the next few years, The letter includes a defence of transmission charges, the system which sees Scottish generators pay more to be included on the network than generators nearer the centres of population in England.

Both ScottishPower and the Scottish Government have criticised the charges.

Mr Calviou’s letter makes the point that the electricity generated north of the Border exceeds demand, making Scotland an exporter of power. But it adds that with the move to wind power, there will be more “two way flows” between Scotland and the rest of Great Britain.

The letter also said that if Longannet and Peterhead were to close there was a very remote chance that extreme weather conditions could have an impact on the electricity network.

Therefore, “to ensure that we can maintain system stability, in even the most extreme circumstances “the National Grid was in talks with thermal generators “to procure additional voltage control support”.

Scottish Power and SSE ­declined to comment.

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