'Ludicrous' transmission charges threatening energy security, says Scottish Renewables

Scottish Renewables' chief executive Niall Stuart has condemned National Grid's transmission charges as 'ludicrously punitive' following the news that Longannet power station is to shut.

While some green groups, such as WWF Scotland, have welcomed the news that Scotland's most polluting power station is to close, Stuart instead fears it will damage the UK's energy security

While some green groups, such as WWF Scotland, have welcomed the news that Scotland's most polluting power station is to close, Stuart instead fears it will damage the UK's energy security

The transmission charges - which favour generators close to population centres - apparently place a 'disproportionate burden' on power plants in the north, and are being blamed for Longannet's early closure.

Owner ScottishPower yesterday (23 March) confirmed that Longannet will likley be shut down next March after failing to win a contract to supply 'voltage support' services to the National Grid.

Reasonable Contribution

While some green groups, such as WWF Scotland, have welcomed the news that Scotland's most polluting power station is to close, Stuart instead fears it will damage the UK's energy security.

"Instead of having Longannet make a fair and reasonable contribution to the overhead of running our electricity network, we now have a situation where National Grid will have to pay another power plant to fill the gap left behind."

"Scottish Renewables has long campaigned for a fairer transmission charging regime to reduce the gulf in charges for energy projects on the Scottish mainland compared to those paid south of the border.

"All generators understand that they have to make a fair and reasonable contribution to the overhead of the national grid, but it seems incredible that we are allowing these charges to undermine the economics of an existing power station at a time when we barely have enough capacity to meet the UK's electricity needs over coming winters."

Calls for Reform

The £15m voltage contract was instead awarded to the gas-fired Peterhead Power Station, in Aberdeenshire.

According to a National Grid statement, Peterhead was selected thanks to its ability to provide system stability and resilience, and value for money for GB consumers.

However, Stuart disagrees with the decision, saying "All of this reinforces the need for reforms of transmission charges to ensure they deliver the optimal power mix that meets the UK's key objectives of energy security, affordability, and lower carbon emissions.

"There was never a better example of why we must set a long-term vision of what our energy system has to look like, and to put in place the necessary regulations and incentives to deliver that framework."

Lucinda Dann


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