Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has criticised energy watchdog Ofgem for delaying a review of the framework for charging power companies for using the high voltage electricity network – Project Transmit.
Ofgem’s Project Transmit aims to ensure the charging regime promotes greener energy while also keeping transmission costs under control.
Currently, Scottish electricity generators face higher transmission charges than those levied in the South of England.
For example, the Wider Zonal Generation Tariff paid by generators in the North of Scotland is currently set at £25.42/kW for 2013-14. This compares with a subsidy of £5.17/kW in West Devon and Cornwall. Even under Ofgem’s proposals Scottish generators would still face higher charges than generators south of the border.
Ewing said: “I am extremely disappointed in Ofgem’s announcement of a further year’s delay in introducing measures to the tackle the long term discrimination against Scottish electricity generators. I consider this to be unacceptable.
“After three years of exhaustive examination of electricity transmission charging and associated connection arrangements, Scottish generators are facing a further three months of uncertainty – and further 12 months before any new arrangements take effect – while the benefits for consumers risk being delayed.
“Since 2010, Ofgem has looked at the issue in a huge amount of detail and consulted at length with every interested party. It recognises that a new approach to transmission charges is in the best interest of consumers, is necessary to facilitate the move to a low carbon energy sector whilst boosting security of supply.
“The proposals that Ofgem published in the autumn would support the transition to a low carbon energy mix and deliver significant long-term benefits to consumers – cutting bills by around £8.30 a year from 2020 – and help keeping the lights on south of the border.
“Further delay in the implementation of new charging arrangements threatens vital investment Scotland’s renewable, clean thermal and pumped storage schemes – the latter being of particular importance in maintaining stability across the GB electricity grid.
“After today’s announcement, the benefits of Project Transmit will not now be realised until 2015 at the earliest. It is vital that this disappointment is offset by a positive decision in March 2014 which gives certainty to investors.”
OFGEM was unable to provide a comment.