Ewing highlights UK threat to Scottish energy
Scotland Business and Industry Economy Regeneration Minister raises
grave concerns in letter to Ed Davey.
Scotland’s Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, has warned that the UK
Government’s Electricity Market Reform proposals could undermine
Scotland’s renewables sector and supply chain, while threatening
security of supply across the UK, and further price increases on
consumers bills as a result.
In a letter to Secretary of State Ed Davey, Mr Ewing has highlighted the
threat which the current proposals pose to Scotland and the UK’s
shared renewables ambitions. This warning extends to concerns – also
raised by Ofgem and the National Grid – about the ever tightening gap
between maximum generating capacity and peak electricity demand
across the UK, and the need to preserve thermal generation in Scotland
to help keep the UK’s lights on.
Mr Ewing has also challenged Mr Davey to explain a last minute
amendment to the UK Energy Bill that will remove the Scottish
Government’s existing powers and discretion over support for
renewable technologies across Scotland. The UK Government’s
amendment is to be debated by the House of Lords on Monday
November 4, 2013.
Mr Ewing said:
“We have examined the UK Government’s proposals carefully,
discussing them in detail with the industry and other stakeholders. I
believe beyond doubt that the current proposals risk failing Scotland and
the UK in a number of vital areas, and present a huge risk to UK
security of supply as well as to investor confidence and our low carbon
“The Scottish Government will not support an outcome which sacrifices
our renewable ambitions in preference to discredited, expensive and
imported nuclear technology.
“Nor should thermal generation in Scotland – vital to maintaining grid
stability here, and to providing security of supply across the UK – be
placed at risk through a failure to take Scottish issues properly into
“Both Ofgem and National Grid have expressed deep concern
regarding the risks that the UK faces both this winter and in the years
ahead due to tightening capacity margins. It would be extremely unwise
to ignore the vital and combined contribution of Scotland’s renewable
and thermal generation to keeping the lights on across the UK.
“Unless serious and considered steps are taken to address these
matters, and which supports investment in thermal generation across
the whole of the UK, then the threat of blackouts will crystallise rapidly.
The failure to secure a proper margin of capacity over peak demand will
inevitably see further price rises on energy bills – resultant from UK
energy policy failure over the past decade, as a result of the laws of
supply and demand.
“We now know that the UK Government has also proposed a last ditch
amendment to the Energy Bill, which will allow UK ministers to close the
Renewables Obligation in Scotland. I find it extraordinary that the UK
Government has chosen to act in this way, and to strip Scottish
Ministers and the Scottish Parliament of their powers and discretion in
an area of such vital importance.
“The UK Government has produced this amendment with no
consultation or explanation. We are deeply concerned about this
summary removal of the Scottish Government’s discretion in an area of
such vital importance to our people and economy.
“As a matter of urgency the UK Government must provide a detailed
justification for its action.”