Allan Wilson: Transmission charges are critical to selling electricity generated in Scotland into the UK market. Until now, they have worked strongly in Scotland’s favour by not being fully reflective of actual costs – the exact opposite of the claims made by the current Scottish Government. I have never believed that it was transmission charges that closed Longannet prematurely, as opposed to a commercial decision by its owners. Certainly, the existing system of transmission charges has done absolutely nothing to inhibit the growth of renewable energy in Scotland – quite the reverse. But now this is the classic case of the boy who cried wolf. Whatever problem currently exists, real or imagined, it is as nothing to a change in the system which is proposed – and which, astonishingly in my view, has gone unnoticed by Scottish Ministers who last month welcomed a report by the Competition and Ma rkets Authority, presumably because they did not understand it. One of many unsung achievements of the early Labour/LibDem Governments at Holyrood was to convince the then Labour Government in Westminster to share the costs of transmission losses across the UK network thereby avoiding increasing charges to Scotland’s generators beyond the level at which they would able to compete with other generators closer to the major consumer markets elsewhere in the UK.
Herald 11th April 2016 read more »