Longannet intervention welcomed

First minister’s intervention over under-threat Longannet welcomed

Prospect, the union representing 1100 staff at energy company Scottish Power, has welcomed the intervention of first minister Nicola Sturgeon, over the threat to Longannet, Scotland’s largest power station.

Ms Sturgeon has demanded assurances from the UK government on the security of Scotland’s energy supplies following the reported stalling of talks between Scottish Power and National Grid over the future of 2.4GW coal-fired Longannet, which produces enough electricity for 2m homes.

Scottish Power has warned that plans to keep Longannet open until the end of the decade are threatened by National Grid’s high transmission charges, which it says penalise Scottish generators compared to those in southern England.

The Scottish government says that while the country’s generators contribute around 12% of capacity connected to Britain’s high-voltage electricity network, they pay around 35% of the charges.

Echoing the concerns raised by the first minister in her letter to David Cameron, Prospect negotiations officer Richard Hardy said: “In conjunction with the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) we have recently raised the issue of energy security and in particular the transmission costs for Longannet power station with the Scottish Government.
“Prospect has worked with Scottish Power to ensure that Longannet remains a viable generation source for as long as possible, ensuring stability and security of electricity for Scotland and high quality jobs for our members.

“It would be deeply disappointing were that hard work to be wasted if the station was forced to close early because of unfair transmission charges”

Prospect also gave a cautious welcome to Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing’s announcement of a new thermal powered generating plant. “We believe that the energy minister is correct to state that the transition to renewables must be managed,” said Hardy.

“It’s sensible to plan a new thermal plant to provide security of supply and employment alongside the proposed increase in renewable generation. We need to maintain a balanced generation mix into the future.”

For further information contact:
Richard Hardy 0131 558 2660 (w) 07718 632171 (m) richard.hardy@prospect.org.uk
Andrew Child 020 7902 6681 (w) andrew.child@prospect.org.uk