Does the UK Business Secretary know something the rest of us don’t? Despite fears of the UK as a whole being unable to meet peak electricity demand in some circumstances, he appears confident there’s capacity to spare if Scotland’s windmill culture (not his words) can’t do the business.
The UK government’s Business Secretary Vince Cable has said there is no threat to the security of Scotland’s electricity supply, reports the BBC.
His comments came after BBC Scotland’s disclosure that the huge coal-fired power station at Longannet in Fife was facing a renewed threat to its future.
Mr Cable said energy could be imported from England.
Scotland’s Energy Minister Fergus Ewing told BBC Radio Scotland that Longannet was necessary to “meet demand”.
Scottish Power, which operates the plant, warned last year that the cost of connecting to the grid meant the power station may close earlier than planned.
It is understood talks between Scottish Power and National Grid have stalled.
Following a meeting of the Scottish Energy Advisory Board, Scotland’s First Minister Ms Sturgeon wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron to call for an analysis of electricity capacity margins in Scotland.
Longannet’s location puts it at a disadvantage when competing against English power stations.
Scottish generators, including Longannet, account for about 12% of the capacity connected to Britain’s high-voltage electricity network.
But, according to the Scottish government, they pay about 35% of the charges for connection to the national grid.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The Scottish government cannot accept a situation where levels of energy security in Scotland are compromised by energy policy and network operation decisions taken outside Scotland.”
Speaking on BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Cable said: “This isn’t an England versus Scotland issue.”
He added: “Clearly there is an issue about the pricing and the connection into the grid, but that is determined by the regulator Ofgem, it is not determined politically.
“There is no issue about security of supply. I don’t quite understand why this issue has flared up. For many years Scotland has exported energy to England on the national grid and that was a perfectly sensible arrangement.”
“There is now the possibility that there will be a reverse flow for some years until the big renewable sources in Scotland come into play.
“That is not a problem. It is a secure national grid – there isn’t a threat to security of supply.”
“I think it is a bit rich of the UK government to say it has nothing to do with them” – Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Energy Minister