, 16 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
OFGEM - the UK Government's energy regulator - are the biggest obstacle to making full use of #Scotland's #renewable #energy resources.

Energy policy is reserved to the UK Government, so there's absolutely nothing the Scottish Government can do about #Ofgem.

Thread: 1/x
Here's a BBC article where Ofgem have supposedly given the "green light" for the first ever grid connection to Shetland.

(Believe it or not, we're in 2019 and the UK has never bothered to connect #Shetland to the National Grid.)


Unfortunately, approval for the grid connection to Shetland is conditional on the UK Government funding a wind farm project there, which will in turn be conditional on being able to transmit power to the National Grid.


In that very same article, we discover that Ofgem have refused to approve a 600 megawatt grid connection to the Western Isles at a cost of £624 million. They're fine with a 450 megawatt link costing £596 million, though.



Let's look at the numbers on that one.

600 megawatts for £624 million is £1.04 million per megawatt.

450 megawatts for £596 million is £1.32 million per megawatt.

Unbelievably, Ofgem's preferred solution is *worse* value for money - it costs 27% more per megawatt!

On the other hand, if you look at the total project cost, the 600 megawatt link only costs 5% more for an extra 33% capacity.

Most people would bite your hand off for that kind of deal. Not Ofgem, though. They have to "protect consumers from additional costs".

Just to put these "additional costs" in context: SSE Networks wants to invest £2.2 billion to upgrade the electricity network from the north east of Scotland to the central belt.

Total cost to the UK consumer: £2 per household, per year.


On that basis, the 600 megawatt Western Isles link, at £624 million, would cost the UK consumer about 57p per household, per year.

The 450 megawatt link, at £596 million, would cost about 54p per household, per year.

Ofgem are literally quibbling over 3p.

If Shetland and the Western Isles aren't enough, Ofgem have created another Catch-22 for Orkney, where a 220 megawatt grid connection upgrade is at stake. Here's the Ofgem press release:



Again, Orkney has to get UK Government funding for renewable energy projects that will be conditional on being able to send the energy to the National Grid.

It gets worse, though. For Orkney, Ofgem are thinking about using something called the "Competition Proxy" model.

I can summarise that as "we'll think about what it might cost if we put the project out to a competitive tender, based on our experience of competitive tenders elsewhere, and we'll demand you do it for that much."

If you want that in a nutshell: "we'll take a guess."

Bear in mind, all this foot-dragging from Ofgem is happening while people in the North of Scotland are forced to pay extra for their energy, just because they happen to live further away from the rest of us.



Northern Scotland has the most extortionate energy bills in the UK. Ofgem & the UK Government are leaving some of the UK's best renewable energy resources lying unused right there on their doorsteps.

Is it any wonder Scotland is moving towards independence?


If you've read this far, well done and thank you :)

I also have a more general thread about renewables, storage, nuclear, grid upgrades and (inevitably) UK Government policy. It's particularly relevant in the context of Friday's #powercut.


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