Scotland’s energy producers ‘unfairly penalised’ by Westminster

Scotland’s energy producers ‘unfairly penalised’ by Westminster’s transmission charge system - which sees them pay the highest amounts in Great Britain despite having more efficient grid systems, the SNP has claimed.

Transmission charges are higher in Scotland.
Transmission charges are higher in Scotland.

Figures provided by the House of Commons Library show that the electricity network in Scotland comprises almost 52 per cent of the total network covering Great Britain, with 9,300 kilometres in Scotland and 8,700 kilometres in England and Wales.

However, the party pointed to a report by the Renewable Infrastructure Development Group (RIDG) for energy trade association RenewableUK in May, which demonstrated that transmission charges are 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 and Wales. In southern England generators get paid to connect to the grid.

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.

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“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 per cent of Europe's wind resources and 60 per cent 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 very own official statistics published by its energy department suggest Scotland’s transmission losses could be even lower.”

He added: “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.

"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 UK Government said that transmission charges are handled by energy regulator Ofgem.

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An Ofgem spokesperson said: “As the independent energy regulator, Ofgem is committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions at the lowest cost to consumers while making sure generators pay proportionate costs for using the network.

“In October we asked our stakeholders for their views on reforming transmission charges and that call for evidence closed on Friday 12 November. We are now reviewing all the submissions and will update our stakeholders in due course.”

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