MSP campaigns for fair deal on renewables

WESTERN Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan, has responded to the current Ofgem consultation on the transmission charging regime within the UK.

Dr Allan particularly made reference to the unfair manner in which Scotland’s islands were treated compared to mainland Scotland in Ofgem’s latest Project TransmiT proposals.

Alasdair Allan commented: “I believe the proposals for transmission charges in Ofgem’s Project TransmiT report do little to alleviate the huge imbalance in transmission charges which remains between the Scottish islands and UK mainland.  

“I am sure that this point will have been pressed home to Ofgem recently following the meeting held in Inverness, which I attended, between Ofgem, The Scottish Government’s Enterprise Minister, Fergus Ewing, and representatives of Scotland’s island communities.

“I see no reason why Scotland’s islands should be allocated virtually all the costs of interconnectors, etc, as part of their charging regime. This leads to a huge disparity in cost of transmission, which would be easier to understand were it not for the fact that Scotland’s islands, and the seas around them, are fast becoming recognised as some of the best areas in Scotland and the UK for renewable energy generation.

“I appreciate that any solution to this situation must bear in mind consequences of any equation on energy bills in “remote” areas, many of which, like my own, suffer from extreme fuel poverty. However, there is little attempt in the Project TransmiT consultation to find imaginative ways in which to offset any such relatively minor increases in fuel bills which might result from a more socialised policy.

“There certainly seems no recognition that the islands need economic activity to overcome poverty, or that Scotland’s ambitious targets on renewables require a fair system of transmission charges to apply to the whole country.

“I have urged Ofgem both through my consultation response and other correspondence to consider the strength and unanimity of views on this issue and come back with proposals which reflect the needs of Scotland’s islands.”