Scottish Power chief tells MSPs that UK grid connection charges put Longannet at risk – http://goo.gl/93DKEF – Scottish Energy News 12 March 2015
COMMENT: A Mexican stand-off on the Forth
Scottish Power and the National Grid are in a Mexican stand-off – made in Westminster by OFGEM, whose grand offices are just along the road from the ‘mother’ of parliaments. Unless someone blinks first – by changing the rules that impose higher grid connection charges the further away the power generator is based from London and SEUK (South East UK) – the coal-fired Longannet thermal power station will close. The only question is when it will close.
Closing it later this month, or next, will ignite a fearsome political row in the run-up to the British general election in May which would be likely to repeat some of the for/against issues from Scotland’s Independence Referendum last year.
Closing Longannet after the British general election in Autumn 2015 will only stoke the political fire for the SNP in what will shortly become a Scottish general election year. There may be a ‘joker’ political reprieve for Longannet if – as is predicted by current opinion polls – a Salmond-Sturgeon-led SNP is ‘king-maker’ in a possible UK government coalition on May 8.
In neither case can the finger of blame be pointed at the door of Scottish Power. It operates in the free market and –rightly – responds to free market signals.
These signals are saying – very clearly – that Scottish Power couldn’t burn through any more money than if it threw bucketloads of Scottish fivers into the furnaces at Longannet than if it tried to sell its coal-fired electricity to the national grid.