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Windfarm charging policy is attacked by business boss  

The head of one of the most influential business bodies in the north will tonight blast energy regulator Ofgem for insisting on a charging regime which discourages windfarms in the wind-rich north and north-east.

The attack will come from Scottish Council for Development and Industry chairwoman Shonaig Macpherson at a business dinner in Nairn.

She will call for “a transmission charging system which does not penalise renewable energy projects where the sources are most plentiful” in place of that being imposed by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets designed to encourage developers to site windfarms closer to electricity markets in central and southern England.

She is taking up an issue voiced by First Minister Alex Salmond in July when he launched an attack on the electricity regulator for undermining the drive for more “green power” in Grampian and the Highlands.

Earlier Scottish Renewables went on the offensive against a regime it fears will undermine plans for offshore windfarms like that proposed for the Beatrice Field in the Moray Firth, those on the northern and western islands and revolutionary wave power and tidal power projects.

Ms Macpherson will say a change in the regime to encourage windfarms in the north is critical to growth in the Highlands and islands.

She will also complain at the SCDI Highlands and islands dinner and awards that the streamlining of the planning system north and south of the border to enable the development of the UK grid infrastructure is essential.

In an advance text she said: “SCDI applauds the ambitions for higher generation, nascent technologies and offshore grids.

“But none of these will come to pass without a transmission charging regime which does not penalise projects where the renewables resources are most plentiful and streamlining of the planning systems north and south of the border in a joined-up way to enable the development of the UK grid infrastructure.”

The Press and Journal

14 September 2007

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