Scottish utilities attack Transmit delay

Steven Vass in yesterday’s Sunday Herald highlights differences between SSE and ScottishPower and their southern rivals over further delays in reforms to a transmission charging system that penalises power generation north of the Border. Both Scottish utilities and others have written to Ofgem demanding they be introduced by next April and not delayed until 2015 or beyond. 

The SSE letter that was supported by 15 other renewable energy companies says: “We are aware that there is a debate on timing of implementation. Opponents argue that swift implementation does not give them enough time to plan for this change. Given the original Ofgem timetable had an implementation date of April 2012 and that current charges are varying hugely due to a raft of plant closures in coming years, this has no logic. With National Grid saying that they can deliver changes in time for April 1, 2014, this group argues strongly for that to be the implementation date. This will provide a fairer and ‘fit for purpose’ regime to enable investment to occur and reduce one tier of uncertainty that is holding up investment and growth.” 

The dispute is over the implementation of Project Transmit, established to address concerns that transmission charges discriminate against northern energy generators because charges are based on how far away the generator is from market. Even the Transmit proposals will still favour southern generators, although less than the current arrangements. These generators are arguing for more time to implement changes. Ofgem may be sympathetic to delay as they were dragged screaming and kicking into reform in the first place. 

It is hard to disagree with Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing who said: “The Scottish Government has long argued that the current charging regime is holding back renewable energy deployment in Scotland. It is simply unacceptable that changes to the charging regime as a result will not happen until 2015. We must deliver a more equitable approach to enable renewable generators to be charged according to output and actual use of system, rather than capacity or location. And we must deliver this swiftly.”

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