IMPROVEMENTS to energy connections between Scotland and England will be made to ensure the “vast” renewable resources north of the Border reach areas of high demand, the regulator Ofgem has said.

Neil Kenward, Ofgem’s director of strategy and decarbonisation, was asked about grid connection charges experienced by generators in Scotland when he appeared at a Holyrood committee on Tuesday.

Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee has called for an urgent review of the electricity grid, saying issues around transmission charges in Scotland need to be addressed.

A report released in September called for more investment in the grid in order to reach net-zero targets.

READ MORE: Tories conducting 'Scottish Renewables Robbery' as green ambitions hampered by charges

At Holyrood’s Net Zero Committee, SNP MSP Fiona Hyslop asked Kenward about transmission charges.

She said the transmission costs were “exorbitant” and changes were needed.

Figures provided from the House of Commons library last year showed that the electricity network in Scotland accounts for almost 52% of the total network in Great Britain with 9300 kilometres in Scotland and 8700km in England and Wales.

However, for an energy company to connect to the grid, it will cost £7.36 per megawatt-hour (MWh) in the north of Scotland and £4.70 per MWh in the south of Scotland transmission area.

The same action in England and Wales costs £0.49, and in southern England generators are paid to connect to the grid.

Kenward said the transmission charges were set up to incentivise new generation in locations near the main centres of demand.

He said: “There are ways in which we are helping facilitate new infrastructure investment.

“Obviously, the potential for more renewable power in Scotland is vast.

“And so, the system operator, the (National) Grid, is developing new network plans.

“And those strategic plans will help facilitate more transmission capacity to get that low carbon power from Scotland down to England when there’s a surplus north of the border.”

Scottish Conservative MSP Liam Kerr said the transmission charges reflected the reality that demand is concentrated elsewhere.

He asked the Ofgem officials giving evidence to the committee if consumers in Scotland were paying less for their energy than they would under market reforms proposed by Hyslop.

Kenward said he could not speculate on potential reforms.

He said: “Getting more infrastructure built to get that low-carbon power down to England when it’s demanded is absolutely fundamental to the network plans being developed by the system operator.”

He said Ofgem was working to ensure the investments could be accelerated.