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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 March, 2005, 16:25 GMT
Charge cap for remote green power
Offshore wind farm
Concern had been raised about energy transmission costs
A hike in prices which could have hit wind, wave and tidal power development in Scotland will be limited.

The UK Government has intervened to try to ensure that projects on the islands are not affected by an increase in National Grid connection charges.

UK Energy Minister Mike O'Brien said Scottish generators would benefit from the new system.

He added that the plan to cap charges would help Scotland's drive to develop wind and wave energy.

From 1 April, electricity supply will no longer be controlled by the major Scottish generating companies.

The electricity regulator Ofgem wants to encourage generation close to consumers.

We are committed to ensuring 40% of Scotland's electricity comes from renewable sources by 2020
Allan Wilson
Deputy Enterprise Minister
However, that would leave producers in the Highlands and Islands paying considerably more than the south of England.

Mr O'Brien said that under the new scheme, Shetland, Orkney, the Western Isles and potentially parts of the mainland could benefit.

He added: "By limiting the charges, renewable generators will have to pay to transmit their electricity to customers across Britain, we're ensuring at this early stage that remote location does not stand in the way of attracting the necessary investment."

The move was welcomed by the Scottish Executive.

'Far too little'

Deputy Enterprise Minister Allan Wilson said the renewable sector would benefit from the change.

He added: "We are committed to ensuring 40% of Scotland's electricity comes from renewable sources by 2020.

But Green MSP Shiona Baird said that there was no doubt that executive support for renewables remained "fairly poor" with no national strategy for onshore wind development and "far too little investment in marine power".

She added: "These problems must be addressed if Scotland is to fully reap the benefits of this emerging market and become the global leader it could be."

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