SCOTLAND’S energy producers are being unfairly penalised by the Westminster government’s transmission charge system – which sees them pay the highest amounts in Great Britain despite having more efficient grid systems.

Figures provided by the House of Commons Library to the SNP show that the electricity network in Scotland is almost 52% of the total network covering Great Britain, with 9300 kilometres in Scotland and 8700 kilometres in England and Wales.

Yet, as a report by the Renewable Infrastructure Development Group (RIDG) for RenewableUK revealed in May, transmission charges are by far the highest in Scotland. In the north of Scotland transmission area, they equal £7.36 per megawatt hour (MWh), £4.70 in the south of Scotland transmission area, and only 49 pence in England and Wales. In southern England generators get paid to connect to the grid.

The Scottish charges are by far the highest in Europe despite Scotland having perfect conditions to generate renewable energy with 25% of Europe’s wind resources and 60% of the UK’s offshore wind capacity.

SNP MP Alan Brown said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous that Scotland faces higher transmission charges, despite having the greatest potential in Europe for offshore wind; floating offshore wind, tidal stream generation and other opportunities such a pumped storage hydro.

“It’s even more ridiculous when we consider that we are only a few weeks after a major environmental conference held in Scotland to tackle climate change. With 25% of Europe’s wind resources and 60% of the UK’s offshore wind capacity, Scotland could be a world leader in renewable energy and a powerhouse for Europe.

“And it goes beyond ridiculous that Westminster sticks by this policy when its very own official statistics published by its energy department suggest Scotland’s transmission losses could be even lower.

“These damaging UK Government charges are the highest in Europe – leaving Scotland at a major disadvantage to other European operators, blocking billions of pounds of investment and the creation of crucial green jobs.

“Westminster’s sky-high transmission charges are the biggest barrier to Scotland’s renewable potential.

“Until these UK Government charges are scrapped once and for all, Scotland will be left at a significant disadvantage to other European operators – with the cost to Scottish operators set to rise even further in the years ahead as a result of Westminster’s negligence.”