Speaking last night (September 19) at the Scottish Renewables Marine Energy Conference in Inverness Scottish Renewables chief executive, Niall Stuart, highlighted the discrepancy in cost for projects north of the border.

He claimed the proposed 1600MW of wave and tidal projects planned for the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters face an annual grid charge of £56m compared to an £11m subsidy if they were sited off the south west coast of England.

The huge disparity in costs, which hit marine energy projects the worst, are laid out in Swimming against the tide – the impact of charging on marine energy development in Scotland, which was also released yesterday.

The charging, which IS calculated by Ofgem, is worked out according to where the project is located compared to the nearest place the energy can be feed into the grid.

This means projects in the north of Scotland have the highest charges anywhere in the UK, while projects in some parts of the UK, such as Cornwall, receive a subsidy payment.

Mr Stuart said: “These charges could actually result in development going elsewhere despite Scotland’s fantastic wave and tidal resource.

“High charges are acting as a barrier to investment and development in Scotland, and costs threaten to slow progress towards both the Scottish Government and UK Government’s 2020 renewable energy targets.

“Any slowdown in the industry’s development will place in jeopardy the significant potential economic benefits of this new sector and its supply chain identified in the Marine Energy Road Map – 2,600 jobs and £2.4bn of investment.

“The projected grid charge bill for the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters in the first year of operation is £2m a year more than all the direct public sector support to the wave and tidal industry in its development, this is hardly the way to support and build this new industry.”

Luke Walsh

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