Wednesday, 21 October 2009

EC intervention over UK transmission charges welcome

It is welcome news that the European Commission is to write to the UK Government seeking clarification of their transmission charges for renewable energy.

The EC took action following a question from SNP MEP Alyn Smith asking whether the charges which see renewable energy projects in remote areas paying more to use the system, contravenes new EU directives on discrimination against peripheral areas.

Recent estimates of transmission charges show that Shetland, Western Isles and Orkney face a charge of £20 whilst Highland is around _ that figure. Renewable projects in the South conversely, such as West Berkshire and Hampshire, receives a subsidy for production.

First and foremost clarification is needed on the issue. These charges are iniquitous and put in real danger the renewable revolution that could transform the economic future of the Highlands and Islands and Scotland.

It is in the continent's interest that Scotland is given a level playing field when it comes to the production and transmission of renewable energy. In an era of climate change and with issues of energy security at the fore it is ludicrous to have in place prohibitive charges in the very area where the vast bulk of that energy is produced.

The Highlands and Islands are well known for their potential in renewable energy, yet the transmission charges actively work against this. The latest move from the EC is encouraging and I hope they will realise the burden that these charges cause and force the UK Government into a climb down. It has long baffled me how the UK Government can justify these charges.

I hope that members of all parties, especially those from the Highlands and Islands, will support my motion on the issue, copied below for readers' interest and comment, and the intervention from the EC. I hope that they join with the SNP in calling for the UK Government to scrap this discriminatory system so that renewable energy producers in the North and West have a fair deal.

S3M-05037 Rob Gibson (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish National Party): End Discrimination in Transmission Access Charges: That the Parliament welcomes the intervention of the European Commission over the UK Government's iniquitous transmission charges that are considered to discriminate against producers of renewable energy in remote areas; notes that recent figures estimate that under these charges renewable energy producers in Shetland and Orkney pay over £21 per kilowatt hour to use the system while in some areas of the south of England a similar venture would receive a subsidy of around £7/kW, and considers that these charges are unfair and represent a risk to a viable renewable energy future for Scotland, especially the Highlands and Islands, which in turn jeopardises potential jobs as well as economic and scientific advancement.

Scottish Parliament written answer and question confirming the discrimation in charges:

Estimated cost of transmission charges in Scotland and cost and subsidy of charges in England and Wales.

S3W-27749 - Maureen Watt (North East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged Friday, September 25, 2009): To ask the Scottish Executive what the average national grid transmission charge is in each local authority area.

Answered by Jim Mather (Tuesday, October 06, 2009): The generation zones used by National Grid to calculate transmission charges do not precisely match local authority boundary areas. However, according to National Grid estimates taken from their Seven Year Statement* published in May 2009, National Grid estimate average transmission tariffs for generation in each local authority area in Scotland, England and Wales are as follows:

Local Authority - Average Generation Tariff (£/kW)

Aberdeen City 21.5887
Aberdeenshire 19.5926
Angus 16.8710
Argyll and Bute 14.8222
Clackmannanshire 14.4797
Dumfries and Galloway 12.4227
Dundee City 16.8710
East Ayrshire 13.6017
East Dunbartonshire 16.8710
East Lothian 13.6017
East Renfrewshire 13.6017
Edinburgh, City of 13.6017
Eilean Siar 21.1042
Falkirk 14.4797
Fife 14.4797
Glasgow City 14.2367
Highland 19.8546
Inverclyde 13.7977
Midlothian 13.6017
Moray 21.5887
North Ayrshire 13.6017
North Lanarkshire 14.0407
Orkney Islands 21.5887**
Perth and Kinross 15.6754
Renfrewshire 13.7977
Scottish Borders 13.6017
Shetland Islands 21.5887**
South Ayrshire 12.4227
South Lanarkshire 14.0407
Stirling 15.1148
West Dunbartonshire 13.9937
West Lothian 14.0407

Bath and North East Somerset -1.6032
Bedfordshire 2.1105
Blackburn with Darwen 6.1423
Blackpool 6.1423
Blaenau Gwent -1.6032
Bournemouth -3.2820
Bracknell Forest -1.3867
Bridgend -1.6032
Brighton and Hove -1.3867
Bristol -1.6032
Buckinghamshire 0.3619
Caerphilly -1.6032
Cambridgeshire 3.1542
Cardiff -1.6032
Carmarthenshire 0.2537
Ceredigion 2.1105
Cheshire 3.1542
Conwy 5.7534
Cornwall -6.6838
Cumbria 6.1423
Darlington 9.8537
Denbighshire 4.1979
Derby 2.1105
Derbyshire 3.1542
Devon -4.9829
Dorset -3.2820
Durham 9.8537
East Riding of Yorkshire 6.1423
East Sussex -1.3867
Essex 1.1825
Flintshire 4.1979
Gloucestershire -0.2931
Greater London -2.7034
Greater Manchester 5.1701
Gwynedd 5.1938
Halton 6.1423
Hampshire -2.3343
Hartlepool 9.8537
Herefordshire 0.2537
Hertfordshire 0.3261
Isle of Anglesey 6.8725
Kent 0.2545
Kingston upon Hull 6.1423
Lancashire 6.1423
Leicester 2.1105
Leicestershire 3.1542
Lincolnshire 4.1979
Luton 2.1105
Medway 0.2545
Merseyside 5.1701
Merthyr Tydfil -1.6032
Middlesbrough 9.8537
Milton Keynes 2.1105
Monmouthshire -1.6032
Neath Port Talbot -1.6032
Newport -1.6032
Norfolk 3.1542
North East Lincolnshire 6.1423
North Lincolnshire 5.1701
North Somerset -1.6032
North Yorkshire 7.9980
Northamptonshire 2.1105
Northumberland 11.7277
Nottingham 2.1105
Nottinghamshire 3.1542
Oxfordshire 0.3619
Pembrokeshire -1.6032
Peterborough 3.1542
Plymouth -6.6838
Poole -3.2820
Portsmouth -1.3867
Powys 0.2537
Reading -1.3867
Redcar and Cleveland 9.8537
Rhondda, Cynon, Taff -1.6032
Rutland 3.1542
Shropshire 2.1105
Slough -1.3867
Somerset -3.2820
South Gloucestershire -1.6032
South Yorkshire 4.1979
Southampton -3.2820
Southend-on-Sea 0.2545
Staffordshire 2.1105
Stockton-on-Tees 9.8537
Stoke-on-Trent 2.1105
Suffolk 2.1105
Surrey -0.5661
Swansea -1.6032
Swindon -1.4949
Telford and Wrekin 2.1105
Thurrock 0.2545
Torbay -3.2820
Torfaen -1.6032
Tyne and Wear 9.8537
Vale of Glamorgan -1.6032
Warrington 6.1423
Warwickshire 2.1105
West Berkshire -1.3867
West Midlands 2.1105
West Sussex -1.3867
West Yorkshire 6.1423
Wiltshire -2.0906
Windsor and Maidenhead -1.3867
Wokingham -1.3867
Worcestershire 2.1105
Wrexham 2.1105
York 6.1423

*Information to existing and prospective new users of the GB transmission system to help them assess opportunities for new or additional use of the grid system.
**Shetland and Orkney will have additional offshore tariffs once the offshore Transmission Operator tender process is complete, however these tariffs have not yet been determined.

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