Scotch Campaign to Repeal Ohm's Law
Scotsman.com News - Scotland - 30,000 reasons why new green power charges must be dropped for good
THE Scotsman today joins the growing campaign against plans to introduce crippling new charges that threaten Scotland's renewable power industry.
Energy watchdog Ofgem is considering the charges for wind and tidal energy schemes in the Highlands and Islands - where the wind and tides are stronger than almost anywhere else in Europe.
Such a decision would hamper the fight against climate change and jeopardise 30,000 potential jobs.
But a proposal that Ofgem has previously said it was "minded to" approve would put all that at risk, by significantly increasing charges for a connection to the national grid for renewable schemes far from population centres.
On Thursday, the First Minister, Alex Salmond, will meet the energy watchdog to discuss what energy minister Jim Mather described as "the potential implications of the punitive charging regime on Scotland's legitimate aspirations".
The outcome of this meeting will be crucial for Scotland, according to Jason Ormiston, chief executive of Scottish Renewables. "Scotland does have significant potential if you think of wave and tidal and the windiest parts of Britain tend to be around the north and west," he says.
"But these are the places where these high transmission charges are being imposed. There will be good projects that are knocked back in the north of Scotland and more generation taking place in the south of England, more conventional generation and more carbon emissions."
In the north-west and islands of Scotland, the wind blows often enough for wind turbines to produce energy for more than half the time. In England, this figure can be below 20 per cent.
The Ofgem proposal would introduce a system that makes generators pay for the loss of electricity - in the form of heat - as it passes along cables. ..
According to Ofgem, these losses cost about £260 million a year and create 680,000 tonnes of extra carbon emissions annually, because the lost electricity is replaced by power largely generated from carbon-emitting means. Ofgem says the new charging structure would reduce emissions by 150,000 tonnes of carbon a year and save £15 million.
The longer the cables, the higher the charge. Once this would have made sense, but no longer.
And why does it not make sense any longer? What laws of physics or the market have changed? Or is it just wishful thinking that the taxpayer ought to further subsidise the producers of electricity out on the rocky crags of the far north, even though all they do with it it is warm up a couple of hundred miles of cable with it. By the time it reaches anywhere with pavements the output of a turbine would barely boil a single kettle, well worth despoiling the lonely wilderness and mulcting the worker for, eh?