Charges 'threaten' Scottish wave and tidal power plans

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Media captionWave and tidal projects are being tested around Scotland's waters

Scotland is in danger of losing its place at the forefront of research into wave and tidal energy because of high connection charges, it has been warned.

Industry body Scottish Renewables said projects in the north of Scotland face charges of £56m annually to feed in to the electricity grid.

Subsidies to producers south of the border can be worth millions of pounds.

The UK's transmission charging regime is designed to get companies to produce power close to centres of population.

The figures come as the Scottish Renewables Marine Energy Conference gets under way in Inverness.

The north of Scotland has the highest charges anywhere in the UK and Scottish Renewables said the proposed 1600MW of wave and tidal projects in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters face an annual grid charge of £56m.

This compares with an £11m subsidy if they were sited off the south west coast of England.

Scottish Renewables chief executive Niall Stuart said: "Scotland has long been recognised internationally as the leader in pioneering wave and tidal research and development and is home to 25% of Europe's tidal resource and 10% of its wave resource.

"However, these charges could actually result in development going elsewhere, despite Scotland's fantastic wave and tidal resource."

He said any slowdown in development could jeopardise significant potential economic benefits and threaten efforts to meet green energy targets.

Ofgem is currently reviewing the charging framework, known as the Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS), through Project TransmiT.

Mr Stuart added: "It is essential that Ofgem's review of charges delivers the right framework to encourage investment in our world leading wave and tidal sector, and supports progress towards our ambitions for marine energy development around Scotland's coastline."

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