Network Charge Rules Jeopardise Scotland’s Offshore Wind Ambitions – Scottish Renewables
Existing Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charges in Great Britain could “deal a blow” to Scotland’s ambitions to increase the installed offshore wind capacity tenfold by 2030, according to Scottish Renewables CEO Claire Mack.
Northern Great Britain is being “penalised to the tune of tens of millions of pounds every year” by outdated rules which govern how the electricity network is paid for, and Scotland is hit by then the worst, Claire Mack told MPs on Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee on 17 June.
The Transmission Network Use of System charge is not levied on European renewable energy projects, meaning it is cheaper to build wind farms there and sell the power to the UK through a growing number of interconnector cables, than build home-grown clean power plants, according to the Scottish renewable energy association.
“We are extremely concerned that the next auction round through which our members bid for contracts to sell the clean power they produce, which will take place later this year, will return few, if any, of the large offshore wind projects which Scotland needs if the UK is to meet its climate targets”, Claire Mack said.
Scottish Renewables, which presented a report on the issue to the MPs, has called on the UK Government and the energy regulator Ofgem to act without delay to reform “the commercial rules of the electricity system” or risk “excessive costs for consumers or a failure to reduce emissions in line with our net zero target”.
“Scotland has 25% of Europe’s offshore wind resource and to effectively lock it out of the UK energy market because of an inability to see past regulations which were drawn up in the early 1990s, when the energy system was totally different, is enormously destructive”, Claire Mack said.
“In addition, penalising the whole of the northern UK, which has some of the best renewable energy resource in Europe, runs entirely contrary to the government’s levelling-up commitments, through which it has vowed to tackle precisely this type of economic imbalance”.
The Scottish Government increased the 2030 offshore wind target from 8 GW to 11 GW in October 2020, saying that increasing the offshore wind capacity supports the delivery of Scotland’s 2017 Energy Strategy and the decarbonisation of heat and transport.
The Scots also adopted a plan identifying suitable areas for commercial-scale offshore wind projects to inform the first seabed leasing process led by the Crown Estate Scotland, which is now underway.