East Lothian Courier – 1 September 2022


The energy hike had been well trailed but the extent was still a shock. Many constituents have been contacting me unaware how they can meet their bills. I’ve no doubt action will be initiated when Parliament reconvenes next week. Whether it will be enough’s the issue?

The energy system in the UK’s dysfunctional. Wholesale privatisation of a vital public service has been shown to be calamitous. When even the National Grid’s in corporate hands, it’s no wonder that investment has been lacking and control and direction gone missing.

Many will know that Scotland produces more energy than it requires. Much goes onto the national grid and goes south. What most don’t know is that so much is produced and with the grid capacity lacking, that onshore turbines are often curtailed or just switched off.

It’s not one or two or just occasionally as grid statistics showed that 17.6% of onshore wind power had been curtailed last year. When folk are unable to heat their homes, why are we switching off this energy which after all’s now significantly cheaper than gas? Those who protest about further windfarms being developed have a point, when so much of what we already have isn’t even used.

Worsening that’s the utter absurdity that energy producers are paid more for curtailing their energy than in actually supplying it. In Scotland alone over £200 million was spent on such payments. The costs were also highest in winter when energy’s most needed. How crazy is it to be paying more to turn off turbines, just when folk need the energy most.

That appalling situation’s only going to worsen as offshore wind comes ashore and grid capacity hasn’t increased sufficiently to cope. But there’s a solution which is to store the energy produced which can’t be used here or transmitted south.

Batteries can allow for that and for the energy to be sent when the grid has capacity or there’s need. Moreover, storage can allow for hydrogen production. That would bring jobs and businesses to East Lothian. So far Westminster hasn’t supported these initiatives. But this absurdity needs to end.