North of Scotland transmission charges 'act as barrier to renewable energy viability'
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A new report has highlighted concern that electricity transmission charges in the north of Scotland are acting as a barrier to the commercial viability of renewable energy projects.
Based on analysis carried out by SSEN Transmission, 93 per cent of its "engaged stakeholders" support reform of the current transmission charging regime to support the UK’s net-zero emissions targets. Currently it results in Scottish generators paying a higher cost for use of the transmission network compared with other parts of Britain.
An example given by SSEN Transmission is that while a wind farm in the north of Scotland pays £5.50 per unit of energy, an equivalent wind farm in Wales will be paid £2.80 per unit.
The company says that "with Scotland boasting the greatest wind resource to meet the UK’s net-zero targets, this creates a huge barrier for further low-carbon investment, despite great support for further deployment through UK and Scottish government policy".
Following the publication of a discussion paper on Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charges earlier this year, which explored the impact for Scottish generators in greater detail, SSEN Transmission has issued a follow-up summary report that analyses and outlines the feedback received from stakeholders on the paper’s findings.
Views were gathered using a range of methods including written responses, calls with stakeholders, feedback forms and an interactive stakeholder webinar session which was joined by more than 100 participants including renewables developers, consultants, industry bodies, local authorities and economic development agencies.
Findings from the summary report include:
- Ninety-three per cent of all stakeholders agreed that some form of TNUoS reform is required
- Seventy per cent agreed with the findings outlined in SSEN Transmission's TNUoS paper
- Eighty-four per cent felt that TNUoS acts as a barrier to the delivery of their renewable projects in Scotland
Andrew Urquhart, head of whole system at SSEN Transmission, said: “Our generation customers and wider stakeholders have been consistently telling us that charges for transmission access in the north of Scotland, as well as uncertainty about future charges, are acting as a barrier to the commercial viability of renewable energy projects. This, in turn, is making it difficult for us to determine system investment needs for our transmission network.
“It is clear from our analysis and engagement to date that there is overwhelming support for TNUoS reform and that urgent action is required to address current barriers in the context of the climate emergency.
"Given the level of concern raised by our stakeholders, we hope the feedback outlined in our report will help to encourage action on the need for an urgent review of the current regime to support the UK’s ambitious net-zero targets and green recovery goals.”
The full summary report is on SSEN Transmission’s website.