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Transmission grid problems must be fixed to meet targets for renewable power

Scotland will miss its target to generate half its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 unless the government fixes the country's transmission problems quickly, a senior executive of a leading wind farm developer will tell a major energy conference this week. Dr Keith MacLean, head of policy and public affairs at Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), who will address the Scottish Council for Development and Industry's Scotland's Energy Future conference in Edinburgh on Tuesday, told the Sunday Herald: "Without an adequate electricity grid system to plug into, our renewable ambitions won't be realised."

Scotland will miss its target to generate half its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 unlessthegovernmentfixes the country's transmission problems quickly, a senior executive of a leading wind farm developer will tell a major energy conference this week.

Dr Keith MacLean, head of policy and public affairs at Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), who will address the Scottish Council for Development and Industry's Scotland's Energy Future conference in Edinburgh on Tuesday, told the Sunday Herald: "Without an adequate electricity grid system to plug into, our renewable ambitions won't be realised."

The warning comes as the Scottish government's rejection of a new generation of nuclear generators comes under renewed attack, this time by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, which publishes its policy document on Scotland's energy future tomorrow.

MacLeanwilltelltheconference, whose other speakers include energy minister Jim Mather and Peter Vis, member of the European Energy Commission,thatlongdelaysin approving the Beauly-Denny transmission line and other improvements to the mainland transmission... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Scotland will miss its target to generate half its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 unless the government fixes the country's transmission problems quickly, a senior executive of a leading wind farm developer will tell a major energy conference this week.

Dr Keith MacLean, head of policy and public affairs at Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), who will address the Scottish Council for Development and Industry's Scotland's Energy Future conference in Edinburgh on Tuesday, told the Sunday Herald: "Without an adequate electricity grid system to plug into, our renewable ambitions won't be realised."

The warning comes as the Scottish government's rejection of a new generation of nuclear generators comes under renewed attack, this time by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, which publishes its policy document on Scotland's energy future tomorrow.

MacLean will tell the conference, whose other speakers include energy minister Jim Mather and Peter Vis, member of the European Energy Commission, that long delays in approving the Beauly-Denny transmission line and other improvements to the mainland transmission system are the "fly hovering above the ointment" in Scottish renewables development. While Scotland is well ahead of the UK in terms of renewable electricity levels, it still has a long way to go from the current 19% level to meet the 2020 targets.

Beauly-Denny, which would transmit power from Inverness to Falkirk and is expected to cost in excess of £300 million, has been awaiting approval for seven years and is currently the subject of a public inquiry due to report later this year. Further improvements to the network, for which costs are not available, include upgrades to existing pylons due for clearance in the autumn in the Scottish government's draft National Planning Framework. MacLean estimated that the total extra capacity would be 6.4 gigawatts, contributing most of the extra 8.3 gigawatts needed to meet the 2020 targets.

"Scotland's transmission system is almost full to capacity. New renewable projects are waiting many years for a connection," he said.

Once Beauly-Denny and the mainland upgrades were resolved, he said, the Scottish government had then to turn its attention to connecting the country to potential electricity export markets as a vital part of first minister Alex Salmond's ambition to make Scotland the "Saudi Arabia of renewable energy".

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) will this week argue that Scotland needs a mixed energy portfolio, including nuclear, to ensure competitiveness, a sentiment echoed by prime minister Gordon Brown at the CBI Scotland annual dinner last Thursday.

SCC chief executive Liz Cameron will say: "Scottish energy security depends upon all options being on the table. Energy policy is crucial to our future success and we cannot afford to leave anything to chance. Getting lucky is not an option."

Brian Wilson, the former UK energy minister who chairs SSE's Airtricity renewables subsidiary and who is also speaking at the conference, said: "Has anyone costed what the Scottish target of 50% renewables will actually cost the consumer? I don't think they have. If Scotland became a separate market, the costs to the consumer without nuclear power would be enormous," he said.

He also cast doubt on the report, published last week by the Scottish government, that suggested much more potential for new hydro-electricity projects than previously believed. It said that hydro's contribution to the economy, currently 8% of electricity, could be increased to 12% by the building of up to 128 new dams.

But Wilson said: "Hydro-electricity will be held back by the same thing that has held it back for the past 40 years. Even the small schemes run into environmental objections, and unless there is going to be a policy of overruling them, not many new schemes will happen."

A spokesman for the Scottish govermnent declined to comment on the future of the grid network, but said: "The recent Clyde wind farm announcement makes it virtually certain that our interim target to generate 31% of Scotland's electricity demand from renewable sources by 2011 will be met early and exceeded by the end of this parliamentary term.

"The announcement was also a significant milestone on the way to achieving our target to generate 50% of our electricity form renewables by 2020."

On the subject of nuclear power, he added: "Scotland does not want or need costly new nuclear power stations, and is already well on its way to becoming the clean, green renewable energy capital of Europe."


Source: http://www.sundayherald.com...

SEP 6 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/16965-transmission-grid-problems-must-be-fixed-to-meet-targets-for-renewable-power
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