'Stalinist' transmission charges

The Tory junta which rules the UK with 37 per cent of the popular vote has obviously decided to cripple Scotland's potential for exporting renewable energy. The "consultation" over Viking Energy and the Yell windfarm demonstrates that ('UK government consultation leaves "dark cloud" over prospects for isles windfarms', SN 9/11/16).

But windfarms in Shetland already face a massive obstacle in the form of transmission charges. They are a Stalinist intervention in the free market (that Tories normally worship) and mean that, the further away from London you generate electricity, the more you have to pay to connect to the National Grid.

This absurd, oppressive and predatory system is simply imposed by the British Government. It bears no relation to the actual cost of providing the grid or a submarine cable from here to the UK mainland.

Transmission charges are the main reason island wind turbines require a public subsidy. Without the charges, it is highly probable that windfarms exporting power from Shetland would be profitable. The market would decide, in other words.

These iniquitous transmission charges appear to be a massive breach of European Union competition law; not that that would bother the increasingly eccentric clique of Europhobic oddities now governing our disunited kingdoms.

Someone should take the Tories to the European Court over this. But who will grasp the nettle when the cosy arrangement suits the big energy companies so well?

Jonathan Wills

SIC councillor, Lerwick South ward

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