United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Wheeling wind to England


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Wind energy generated in Scotland -- which has the highest wind resource in Europe -- could be wheeled to England using the newly completed 400 kV interconnector if an appeal by potential wind plant developers succeeds. Use of the 400 kV interconnector would allow developers to build wind farms in Scotland, while taking advantage of NFFO subsidies in England and Wales. The Director General of Electricity supply, Stephen Littlechild, has been called upon to rule on the matter, but his intervention means that generators wishing to use the interconnector have not been able to agree terms with its owners, Scottish Power and Scottish Hydro Electric.

Despite the larger renewable resource north of the border, legislation to encourage its use is limited in Scotland. The recently introduced Scottish Renewables Obligation, the first of its kind, requires utilities to contract for only 30-40 MW of renewables. By contrast, in England and Wales, which have already enjoyed two previous rounds of renewables subsidies under the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation, the next order will be for around 300-400 MW. According to David Porter of the Association of Independent Electricity Producers, there will be many more projects proposed in Scotland than contracts available. "It is going to be very competitive and there will be many disappointed developers. The outcome is that some are hedging their bets by making bids into both orders," he says.

Meanwhile, Scottish Hydro Electric and Scottish Power say the link is already fully used to transmit electricity to customers of both companies in England. "In our view there is no spare capacity on the interconnector," says Scottish Power's Tom James. "Scottish Power and Scottish HydroElectric have commercial contracts for all its capacity."

The Scottish Office of Electricity Regulation confirms that it has received a request on behalf of more than one wind plant developer for a determination on use of the interconnector by Littlechild. Nevertheless, it does not expect to make its ruling until much further into the current round of the NFFO bidding process.

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