UK grid costs still too high for Scots wave and wind power schemes

Development  of onshore wind and marine energy on the Scottish islands constitutes a  separate class of renewable generation, and warrants separate treatment and a  different level of support to those projects connecting to the mainland  electricity network.

That is the key point made today by Scottish Renewables and counterpart Renewables UK in their response to a UK government consultation on  additional support for Scottish islands renewables.

While welcoming the commitment to supporting development of renewable power  projects on the Western Isles, the Hebrides, Argyllshire islands and Orkney and Shetland, a spokesperson for Glasgow-based Scottish Renewables said:

“It is essential that prohibitive transmission charges do not damage developments expected to deploy during the second EMR Delivery Plan. This is crucial as investments are being made now, and certainty on this issue is pivotal to ensure investment can continue to flow and technologies can move closer to full commercialisation.
“Without a resolution to the barrier created by prohibitively high transmission system charges, it makes little sense for developer to seek access to the electricity network in the first place. Therefore, addressing only one side of the problem will not resolve the issue – grid access and grid use of system charging must be resolved in tandem for the problem to be overcome.

“We are also concerned about the validity of targeting only 400MW of the onshore wind supply curve on the Scottish islands. If the presence of this modelling assumption translates into any type of ‘capacity limit’ under a CfD allocation process, it is highly possible that this could render the uplift impractical and present difficulties in terms of delivering economically efficient sub-sea cabling. The outcome of which would have implications on GB electricity consumers realising the important value for money objectives of the uplift.

“We recognise that not all projects will be built out at the proposed level, but we do feel that targeting only 400MW of the supply curve is particularly flawed. Rather, separate uplift should be provided for each of the island groups on the basis that such uplifts do not exceed the support offered to offshore wind. This is in line with the conclusions and recommendations of the Baringa/TNEI report.”

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