MEP targets Renewable's Charges

04 July 2005
Scottish Nationalist MEP Alyn Smith has welcomed the news of European investigations into transmission charges for renewable energy produced in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

The European Commission ordered an inquiry into the system of charges, introduced earlier this year by OFGEM and backed by the government in Westminster, after Mr Smith raised the issue of possible conflicts with European rules on promoting renewables.

Action is also being taken against the charges by energy producers.

Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg Mr Smith said

"After hearing about these charges I was very concerned that they would have a negative impact on Scotland's energy industry. It makes no sense that producers in Scotland, which has the greatest potential for renewable energy in Europe, are to be penalised for being further away from London.

"Producers in London receive a subsidy, in the Highlands and Islands we have to pay for the privilege of supplying energy to big population centres.

"I believe this contradicts a European Directive encouraging the promotion of Renewables and forbidding discriminatory charging. I look forward to the result of the Commissions enquiries and I'm pleased to hear the UK government have responded.

All the government have done so far is put a temporary cap on the charges, they have not been stopped. Hopefully this enquiry will make them see sense and ensure Scottish Renewables are supported not hindered. Scotland has massive potential here to meet the Energy needs of the future, to contribute to cutting fuel emissions and controlling climate change, I hope the government sees sense and drops these charges before this industry and this country miss out on a vital opportunity"