SNP MSP Mike Mackenzie has written to the UK Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey, urging him to make changes to the current transmission charges regime, which Mr Mackenzie brands as “highly prejudicial to Scotland’s islands”.
And following a visit to Orkney’s highly-successful European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), Mr Mackenie is campaigning for wave and tidal technologies to be brought to commercial fruition as soon as possible.
However Mr Mackenzie argues that the UK transmission charges regime penalises the Scottish islands heavily, and acts as a block to the development of renewable energy production in the islands, which possess some of the best resources for this sector anywhere in Europe.
In his letter to the UK minister, Mr Mackenzie says:
“Whilst I welcome Ofgem’s recent proposals which level the playing field to some degree, for remote and peripheral parts of the Scottish mainland, I am dismayed at the proposed continuation of a transmission charging regime which is highly prejudicial to Scotland’s Islands, most of which are in the Highlands and Islands Region. I am aware of the various arguments attending the issue of transmission charging, however the view of many of my constituents is that the wider public interest is surely best served by bringing wave and tidal technologies in particular to commercial fruition as soon as possible. I share this view and would hope that you will reconsider the current proposals.”
The MSP for Highlands and Islands added:
“The continuation of this unfair charging regime is damaging to Scotland’s islands and I have written to the UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Edward Davey urging him to overhaul the system.
“Why should our islands be allocated virtually all the costs of interconnectors as part of this regime when it leads to a huge disparity in cost of transmission?
“Scotland’s islands, and the seas around them, are recognised as some of the best areas in the world for renewable energy generation.
“The wider public interest is best served by using this potential to bring wave and tidal technologies to commercial fruition as soon as possible.
“Scotland’s ambitious targets on renewables require a fair system of transmission charges to apply to the whole country.
“For far too long the UK Government has penalised renewable energy projects in the islands through excessive transmission charges. It’s time to put a stop to this.
“We need a system that does not penalise geographical distance for clean power producers, such as the equal access charges or postage stamp.”