A key plank of the Britain's new energy bill, introduced to parliament last month, is the creation of a single wholesale electricity market for Britain. The new British Electricity Trading and Transmission Arrangements (BETTA) will, says energy minister Stephen Timms, help renewables by spreading the costs of grid upgrades -- to accommodate increased wind plant in Scotland -- across all users throughout Britain. In addition, it allows Scottish consumers to benefit from increased competition, giving them access for the first time to electricity suppliers outside Scotland. The bill also contains legislation allowing renewables certificates issued in Northern Ireland to be traded with the rest of the UK. Northern Ireland, like England and & Wales and Scotland, is to have its own renewables obligation -- due to take effect from April 2005. Being able to trade certificates with Britain is "absolutely essential" for any future wind development in the province, says B9 Energy's Mike Harper. "The two projects we have developed [outside of any support system] have been built on the assumption that this law does come in," he says.
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