Scottish energy group urges reform of 'unfair' charges

Perth-headquartered energy group SSE has called for reform of a charging system that sees renewable generators in Scotland pay significantly more than others to connect to the grid.

Scottish renewable generators are paying significantly more under the system that allocates charges for using the transmission network. Picture: AFP/Getty Images.

Analysis published by the group’s transmission arm shows a wind farm in the north of Scotland pays £5.50 per megawatt hour (MW/h) of energy under the system for using the transmission network. By contrast, an equivalent wind farm in Wales actually gets paid £2.80 per MW/h under the system where charges are set based partly on the proximity of generation projects to the largest areas of demand.

As well as the charges for the use of the transmission system being higher in the north of Scotland than elsewhere in Britain, they can also vary dramatically from year to year.

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Industry body Scottish Renewables has backed the calls for a reform, arguing that the issue threatens the future development of renewables projects in Scotland.

Aileen Mcleod, a director at SSE Networks Transmission, said the cost for transmission access in the north of Scotland and uncertainty about future charges are acting as a barrier to the commercial viability of renewable energy projects.

“This, in turn, is making it difficult for us to determine system investment needs for our transmission network, whilst also impacting on the energy markets where generators seek to earn revenue. Our findings suggest there is a clear case for reform, and we want to hear what others think too.”

Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said the analysis shows the current policy is “out of step with future ambition and objectives”.

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