I have been working with Ofgem, the National Grid, the energy sector, Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney Island councils and other interested parties to find a solution for electricity transmission charging which works for Scotland.
Scotland and the Scottish Islands in particular have some of the finest renewable resources in wind, wave and tidal energy in Europe, resources which can make a huge contribution to the UK’s renewables energy obligation and to Scotland’s economy.
Currently, generators in Scotland with the most significant renewables resource face the highest transmission charges in the UK, while those in other parts are subsidised.
Partly as a result of our pressing for change, Ofgem, the GB Energy regulator, are currently reviewing transmission charging. The emerging outcomes from the review are a significant improvement for generators on the Scottish mainland. But more work needs to be done to deliver a solution on transmission charges for Scotland’s island communities.
The review shows the current system of transmission charging will not deliver a more balanced electricity generating mix, including large amounts of renewable energy in Scotland. It shows the current approach can and must change.
Ofgem’s review of transmission charging must deliver fundamental and effective change which delivers our shared vision for a low carbon future energy mix, and facilitates generation in the very areas with the best renewable resource.
It is good that Ofgem is listening to Scotland. Working together with Ofgem, with Scottish industry and with island communities, we must find a solution.