United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Action to extend caps on transmission charges in Scotland

The UK government is using a Private Member's Bill on climate change and sustainable energy, currently making its way through parliament, to extend the period for capping transmission charges for renewable generators on the Scottish islands out to 2024. The amendment to the bill is to correct an error made in drafting 2004's Energy Act. Under the Act, the government gave itself powers to adjust transmission charges for renewables for ten years. Because of the cost of necessary upgrades to the Scottish islands network, charges to renewable generators on the islands would otherwise have been prohibitive. In March, energy minister Malcolm Wicks announced his intention to limit the cost to generators for transmitting their power, but due to a drafting error, the ten year period began on the day the Act became law, rather than from the date when transmission connections are completed. As the Act currently stands, the power is due to expire in 2014. Given the long lead times for installing transmission links between the islands and the Scottish mainland, this would not give generators many years to enjoy their discount on charges. The results of the government's preliminary consultation on capping charges will be announced in the new year. Wicks believes that 1900 MW of electricity could be feeding into the grid from the islands early in the next decade, enough to power over a million households -- more than Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen combined." The Private Member's Bill received its second reading in the House of Commons last month. It was put forward by member of parliament Mark Lazarowicz and calls for government to produce an annual report on its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and for targets for micro generation. The government is adding an additional clause to the bill to simplify the rules and Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) regime for micro generation.

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