Representatives of more than 40 companies and trade unions met with Lonagannet taskforce members to suggest ways to mitigate the effects of the power station closing.
The outcomes from today’s meeting in Dunfermline will help shape the Longannet taskforce’s Economic Recovery Plan.
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing chaired the meeting. He said: “The closure of Longannet in March next year has significant implications for the local and national economy and we are doing everything possible to support the many affected businesses.
“A key part of the taskforce’s Economic Recovery Plan is to mitigate the effects on the supply chain.
“All of the businesses attending today face a loss of income and this was a chance to hear more about the specific impacts the closure will have. In addition, it was an opportunity for public sector bodies to set out the types of support available to help with skills, training and business development.
“This is just the start of a process of ongoing engagement with the business community. The range of constructive suggestions made today on what can be done will help shape the response of the taskforce to meet the needs of those businesses adversely affected by the closure of Longannet.”
Keith Anderson, chief corporate officer at Scottish Power, added: “At the moment our priority is the people at Longannet. We will work tirelessly to ensure that our 236 skilled workers at the station get the best outcome possible when the plant closes. We will help those who want to leave, and we will find roles for those who want to stay. Working with the newly created task force, we will do all that we can to minimise the impact of Longannet’s closure on the wider Fife and Central Scotland regions.”
Meanwhile, Anderson has blamed increasing costs and taxes for the closure of Longannet. He said:
“Carbon taxes introduced in 2013 to phase out coal generation are affecting power stations across the UK such as Ferry Bridge in Yorkshire. Since 2013 the price of carbon has been increasing and next year Longannet’s carbon tax bill would have been over £150 million.
“The second factor is transmission charging. This year for Longannet the annual charge to connect to the Grid is £40 million. From April 2016, instead of increasing to £50 million, it would remain at £40 million, following the ‘review’ of the charges – but it would be £50 million by 2017.
“The locational transmission charge is an unfair and an additional cost on top of carbon taxes that makes the future operation of Longannet uneconomic.
“The system to charge power stations for connecting to the national grid based on their location was designed by the UK Government over 10 years ago. These charges are actively discouraging investment in new power stations in Scotland.
“No power company is currently planning new thermal generation in Scotland, not because we lack the locations or the skill-base to develop and build new plant but because of punitive transmission charging.
“If Scotland becomes a net importer of electricity, it will be the result of these unfair geographical charges.”