I asked Alok Sharma, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, about ending the discriminatory regime of National Grid connection charges. These charges disproportionately affect sites in Scotland, Wales and the North of England, but it is in Scotland where the highest charges anywhere in the UK are applied. In contrast, energy producers based in London and the South of England are paid a subsidy for their electricity.
There is significant potential benefit to East Lothian in offshore renewables in the future for energy coming ashore at the site of the old power station direct from the North Sea. In order to fully take advantage of this renewable bounty, I asked the minister if he would scrap the unfair connection charges scheme and support Scottish Government plans to make sure that we in Scotland gets the benefit of our natural resources, as opposed to having them moved elsewhere like oil and gas.
The minister didn’t answer the question, although I was pleased to hear his tacit acknowledgement that Scottish energy companies are capable of being competitive in the energy sector. I agree with him. That’s why I want these discriminatory charges dropped.