8th Report, 2015 (Session 4): Plugged-in Switched-on Charged-up: Ensuring Scotland’s Energy Security

SP Paper 780.1 (Web)

Note: This report has been republished to reflect a correction to the witness evidence quoted in paragraph number 212. 

Contents

Report
Remit
Executive summary
Introduction
Glossary
Supply

Background
A question of capacity, the business of risk, and keeping the lights on

DECC position
Scottish Government position

Longannet, black start and transmission charges

CMA position
DECC position
Scottish Government position
Postscript

Transition, flexibility and balance

DECC position
Scottish Government position

Conclusions
Demand

Background
Demand-side response, public engagement, smart meters and storage

CMA position
DECC position
Scottish Government position

Conclusions
Network

Background
Investment and affordability

Scottish Government position

The European context and an interconnected future

DECC position
Scottish Government position

A question of leadership

DECC position
Scottish Government position

Conclusions
Market

Background
Electricity Market Reform, Capacity Market and Contracts for Difference

CMA position
DECC position
Scottish Government position
Postscript

Conclusions
Annexe A

Written Submissions
Written Submissions
Written Submissions

Annexe B

List of other written evidence
Supplementary Written Evidence

Remit and membership

Remit:

The remit of the Committee is to consider and report on the Scottish economy, enterprise, energy, tourism, renewables and other matters falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy (apart from those covered by the remit of the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee), and matters relating to cities.

Membership:

Murdo Fraser (Convener)
Dennis Robertson (Deputy Convener)
Chic Brodie
Patrick Harvie
Johann Lamont
Richard Lyle
Gordon MacDonald
Lewis Macdonald
Joan McAlpine

Plugged-in Switched-on Charged-up: Ensuring Scotland’s Energy Security

Executive summary 

No country is an energy island. The energy system in Scotland is intrinsically part of a GB system that is itself connected with and increasingly dependent on a wider European system.

Security of supply is a term that no longer quite matches the current circumstances of the electricity market, most commentators placing ever increasing emphasis on the demand side of the equation. The question of “how much?” has been augmented by “what sort?” and “where from?”

The new approach calls for long-term planning and a whole-system view that covers heat and transport as well as electricity. It must respond to the trilemma – accounting for energy security, cost to the consumer, and the decarbonisation agenda – while maintaining public, government and industry confidence.

There is a common misconception that there are two modes to security of supply: the lights stay on or we stumble into darkness and cold. The inquiry found no credence in the more excitable media coverage that energy security can be the subject of. It is important of course that a strategic approach is taken and the Committee welcomes National Grid’s commitment to bring to the Scottish Parliament an annual capacity assessment for review.

Does Scotland need more generation or better interconnection? The Scottish Government appears to favour the former approach, National Grid the latter. Greater clarity is needed if we are to avoid policy deadlock.

Ofgem’s review of transmission charging was seven years in the making and a judicial review has just concluded. The revised regime commences in April 2016. The Scottish Government welcomes the review but would have preferred that it went further. In its view the charge discriminates against thermal generation in Scotland and it wants to see a “fairer regime”. National Grid and others say it “incentivises efficient decisions” by generators and benefits Scottish consumers. The Committee would like to see more clarity in communicating the costs and benefits of the regime and how it fits with other public policy aims.

The world of the “prosumer” has yet to arrive but we should be working harder to make things easier for people to think and act differently, whether via price incentives, simplifying bills or making meters smarter. If people see how to save on their energy bills, they are more likely to be willing to change their behaviour as consumers. The Committee wants the Scottish Government (along with Ofgem) to look more closely at “demand-side response” and to produce a demand reduction strategy, either as part of a wider document such as the Electricity Generation Policy Statement or a strategy in its own right.

The smart meter roll-out is a GB-wide initiative. The Committee believes a greater lead from government is needed if the scheme is to achieve its full potential. We ask the UK Government to clarify how it will ensure the best outcomes from the consumer and the demand-side perspectives. The Scottish Government’s views are also sought.

Relevant to demand-side response, the Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism expressed his desire to take forward district heating. We ask the Scottish Government to set out its plans.

Having previously asked the Scottish Government about the lack of demand-side response expertise on the Scottish Energy Advisory Board, we ask what action it has taken.

The Committee recognises the longstanding frustration of those involved in the Western Isles interconnection project. It is encouraging that Scottish and UK Government Ministers have been involved in joint working and we seek an update on this and interconnection for the islands overall.

The Scottish Government refers to the idea of “regional-based criteria” for investment in capacity. We seek detail and, once forthcoming, would welcome Ofgem’s perspective on the matter.

There is debate about National Grid’s role as system operator, the merits of an independent systems operator, and what a system architect might bring to a whole system approach. The Scottish Government refers to a “putative independent regulator in Scotland”. The Committee requests that both the Scottish Government and the UK Government – given the GB system covers Scotland, England and Wales – set out their views on the future role of National Grid, the case for an ISO, and the benefits a system architect could bring to oversight and longer-term planning.

A range of views were heard on Electricity Market Reform. But the most compelling evidence on the market aspects of energy security came from the Competition and Markets Authority. We await with interest the CMA’s final report from its inquiry into the energy market and its proposed remedies on the adverse economic consequences identified in the contracts for difference auction process. The Committee was concerned, however, by what the introduction of smart meters may mean without reform of the current settlement system. What was described as a “very big prize” in potential savings for consumers could instead end up in the coffers of energy suppliers. We ask for further views from the CMA, Ofgem and National Grid.

The CMA also found those customers generally engaging least with the energy market – by not switching supplier for example – and therefore “leaving most money on the table” were people on low incomes, of a poor educational background, with disabilities, or otherwise disadvantaged. Mindful of the November 2016 deadline for the Scottish Government's target to eradicate fuel poverty, we ask the Scottish and UK Governments what can be done to address this inequity in the system.

We welcome the Scottish Government’s willingness to work with the UK Government on energy matters and to establish a joint intergovernmental group to look at storage solutions. The commitment of National Grid to a more transparent relationship with the Scottish Parliament is also welcome. And in that spirit of co-operation, we extend an open invitation to the Secretary of State to come and talk to the Committee about energy security and other matters germane to energy policy.

Introduction 

1. Security of supply or energy security tends to be interpreted in several ways. It can mean reliability of supply and resilience of the infrastructure to deliver that supply – keeping the lights on being the shorthand – or refer, in turbulent geo-political times, to the extent of a nation’s energy self-sufficiency.

2. It is often applied in narrow reference to electricity but during its inquiry several witnesses encouraged the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee (“the Committee”) not to overlook the other factors in the energy equation i.e. heat and transport. In that wider sense, it can be used to describe the non-interruption of electricity, gas and petroleum supply to homes and businesses.

3. The House of Commons’ Energy and Climate Change Committee (“ECCC”) addressed the issue of UK energy supply in an inquiry in 2011 and one of its recommendations was that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (“DECC”) adopt a clear definition of a secure energy system along the lines of that being one—

… able to meet the needs of people and organisations for energy services such as heating, lighting, powering appliances and transportation, in a reliable and affordable way both now and in the future.1

4. During our own inquiry, one witness, decrying what she saw as a predictable focus on “big technologies” or “boys with toys”, put it more provocatively—

Why do we need energy security? Is it to keep the lights on? Is it to keep commerce ticking over? Is it to stop people dying of hypothermia in their own homes?2

5. The World Energy Council, the UN-accredited energy body, defined the energy trilemma, a frequently used term, as comprising of “energy security, social equity and environmental sustainability”.3 No inquiry into security of supply would be complete without taking into account the affordability and decarbonisation aspects.

6. In 2014 a report by KPMG described security of supply in the Scottish market in the short term (to 2020) as “largely secure” but took the view that this was “largely dependent” on Scotland’s three largest thermal plants: Hunterston, Torness and Longannet. Such reliance, the report found, would increase after 2020, describing “a significant deterioration in Scotland’s capacity margin” (the expected excess of available generation capacity over demand).4

7. The Committee’s own inquiry stems from the speculation and uncertainty earlier in the year as to the future of Longannet. It has since been confirmed by ScottishPower that the coal-fired power station is to close on 31 March 2016.5 Evidence was heard from the key players at a meeting on 11 March 2015 and resulting from this the Committee chose to undertake a wider investigation into security of supply.

8. On 27 March the Committee issued a call for written views6 that focused on four areas of inquiry: supply (current capacity and that being planned); demand (the future of peak demand and the role of demand-side response); the transmission network (current reliability levels and need for future investment); and the electricity market (changes to ensure competition and cost-reflective prices for consumers). What follows is structured on the basis of those four headings.

9. Covering as it does technological, economic, political, geographical, environmental and even constitutional factors, security of supply is a far from straightforward topic. As one witness said: there are a lot of moving parts. This report is not a blueprint for energy security. It will, the Committee hopes, contribute to a debate on the future of something we tend to take for granted, but which powers our everyday plugged-in, switched-on, charged-up lives.

10. The Committee is appreciative of the input from all witnesses who presented evidence, in writing or in person or both, and expresses particular gratitude to Professor Gareth Harrison of the Institute for Energy Systems at the University of Edinburgh. Professor Harrison provided members with a policy overview prior to the commencement of the inquiry as well as taking part in the opening evidence session of the inquiry, the expert roundtable held on 20 May 2015.

Glossary 

AEC – adverse effect on competition

CfD – contracts for difference.

CM – Capacity Market/Capacity Mechanism

CMA – Competition and Markets Authority

DECC – Department of Energy and Climate Change

EGPS – Electricity Generation Policy Statement

EMR – Electricity Market Reform

ENA – Energy Networks Association

ISO – Independent System Operator

Ofgem – Office of Gas and Electricity Markets

Supply

Background

11. In the electricity sector, different types of generation – e.g. coal, gas, nuclear or renewable – produce electricity, which is transported to consumers via transmission lines and distribution lines. In the provisional report of its investigation into the energy market the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) noted the costs and characteristics involved. Nuclear and many renewables have “near-zero short-run marginal costs”, for example, while oil-fired plants have “high short-run marginal costs”. Coal- and gas-fired plant costs lie between the two, informed by fuel prices. Wind generators need the wind to be blowing. Such differences can result in “wide variations in the short-run marginal cost of electricity over the day”.7

12. There has been a single electricity market in Great Britain since 2005, covering Scotland, England and Wales. Generators compete in the electricity market to sell to retailers who compete to sell to final customers. Contracts can be struck over multiple timescales ranging from several years ahead to on-the-day trading. There are important interactions between market design and the need to physically balance the system, and, as electricity cannot be stored in large quantities, the market is continually balanced on a half-hourly basis.

13. The role of National Grid as the GB system operator is to manage that physical balance and ensure that demand can be matched second by second. Insufficient generation can result in voltage reductions or, in exceptional cases, blackouts, although this is unlikely and caused in most cases by extreme weather events impacting on the distribution system.

14. Currently, questions arise about whether generation will continue to match demand. This raises issues around capacity, risk, Scotland’s place within the GB energy system, a whole-system approach, the post-Longannet picture, black start (the generators that would be used to re-start the grid in the aftermath of a blackout and how long that would take), transmission charging, moving towards a largely decarbonised system, intermittency, flexibility, diversity, new thermal generation, and divergent policies on nuclear energy.

A question of capacity, the business of risk, and keeping the lights on 

15. Witnesses at the expert roundtable session that commenced the inquiry shared the view that there was no crisis pending, but it was suggested that in the longer run Scotland could become more reliant on imported energy, particularly if existing thermal capacity was not replaced.8 None of the witnesses who gave evidence at that first session suggested the capacity margin set by National Grid was too low.9

16. Professor Bell of the University of Strathclyde was critical of media commentators with a tendency to respond to National Grid’s winter outlook with dire predictions of the lights going out. Mindful of the need to balance security with what we were prepared to pay for “additional reliability”, he described the risks as “not excessive” and suggested, with Scottish consumers having access to the GB market, there was “sufficient reliability of supply”.10

17. Energy UK’s Lawrence Slade told the Committee—

… capacity margins are tightening – we have seen that coming – but is worth noting that we have one of the most secure systems in Europe.11

18. Capacity margins may have narrowed this and the previous winter, said WWF Scotland’s Gina Hanrahan, but concerns over energy security were “overstated”.12 Contrary to media reporting, Flexitricity stated “GB is presently oversupplied with reserve capacity”.13 Simon Skillings of Trilemma UK also wished to “tackle the myth” of a crisis in security of supply and draw attention to the “huge overcapacity” of energy in the system. He was critical of a “common misconception” of two states in which either; all is well and the lights stay on, or “some near-Armageddon of darkness and cold”.14 National Grid stated that “at 99.99995%” the GB transmission system was the “most reliable network in Europe”.15

19. Given narrowing margins and “as a sensible precaution”, Ofgem reported that it had approved “new tools” for National Grid for the winters of 2014-15 and 2015‑16. The de-rated figures in various reports, including KPMG’s, did not factor in these tools—

We are confident that National Grid has the right levers to keep the lights on for GB customers. However, given the tighter margins at this time there is no room for complacency.16

20. Flexitricity described energy security as having been “excellent for many years” and made the point that most power cuts of recent times were down to distribution faults.17

21. Mr Slade said the most recent figure for unplanned loss from thermal capacity for GB was less than 0.3%. “The plant that is running across GB,” he told the Committee, “wherever it is based, is actually very resilient – it is there when it is needed”.18

22. Several witnesses spoke of the complexity of the subject. It might appear counter intuitive, for example, to talk about reduced consumption at the same time as looking at concerns relating to supply. But, as Brian Galloway of ScottishPower pointed out, peak demand both in Scotland and the UK has dropped over the last seven or eight years, linked to energy efficiency.19

23. Energy policy, according to Mr Skillings, was informed by minimising the risk of failure, but “massive uncertainty” existed over what lay ahead for technological development, pricing and demand. Clarifying the risks and being open with that information was the answer.20 The difficulty came when hyperbole was used for reasons of self-interest—

Saying, “If you don’t do this, the lights will go out,” gets you nine tenths of the way there with most politicians.21

24. Professor Harrison of the University of Edinburgh said that, provided there was enough transmission capacity to import electricity, it was not essential to have thermal production located in Scotland. However, in the interests of flexibility and energy mix, he encouraged retaining something.22

25. A lack of clarity as to where responsibility lay for the system overall was of concern to Professor McInnes of the University of Glasgow. He thought it would be difficult therefore to have confidence in the rest of the UK providing Scotland with what it needed in terms of thermal generation. Doing so, he said, could be a “pretty grave mistake”.23

26. Professor Bell took another view. The capacity margin had been a “grey area” in the past but that the Capacity Market (the mechanism to encourage investment in reliable forms of both demand and supply side capacity) was in the process of countering that. The system was “complex, non-linear and dynamic – it changes all the time”. However, the “network standard” (the stick-and-carrot approach used to regulate the network operators) was intended to ensure that all of GB had access “both in terms of facilitation of competition for energy supply across the year and in terms of reliability of supply”.24

27. Scotland’s place within the GB market was something underlined by Lawrence Slade, who spoke of the importance of a “whole system approach across the geographical area”25; also by the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Dr Walker, who added that it was unlikely that demand would change much in the short term, until more transport or heat demand came onto the electricity system.26

28. Mr Skillings argued that energy security within a “domestic frame” would require “far more assets” than for Scotland being integrated in the GB system; the same logic applying to the integration of GB within the western European system.27 The “GB context” was also emphasised by Scottish Renewables’ Michael Rieley, who added that GB was itself becoming increasingly part of the European market.28 He and other witnesses identified National Grid as the key agency responsible for ensuring GB energy security. Mr Galloway said it had “all the tools that it needs to ensure that the lights stay on”.29

29. The inclination to focus on electricity when for most of us it amounts to only a quarter of household energy consumption was noted by Mark Crowther of the company Kiwa—

We tend to think that energy is electricity whereas, in fact, the elephant in the room is gas.30

30. Professor Arbon of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers also felt it was important to widen the discussion. Electricity amounted to just 19% of energy demand and “enormous problems” were in store if we didn’t start to consider the bigger picture and to address it by means such as combined heat and power plants.31 That picture was added to by Heriot-Watt’s Dr Owens who predicted that the market for electric vehicles would grow over the next seven or eight years, hopefully giving rise to demand-side developments, such as home energy storage systems.32

31. Several witnesses stressed the importance of adopting a total or whole system approach, encompassing electricity, heat and transport.33 Professor Harrison said the way the market operated was not always in step with a wider approach and we needed to “think holistically”.34 Malcolm Keay of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies said a “much more integrated policy overall” was the priority.35 There were wider issues, Mr Skillings agreed, but said—

… I would shorthand the next 10 to 15 years as being about the challenge of getting a broadly decarbonised electricity system.36

32. Procurement of capacity comes at a cost, Mr Galloway said, and this aspect of energy security had implications for the consumer.37 Professor Bell suggested that capacity margins had been the metric for generation meeting peak demand and de-rated capacity was a variation on that. Some of National Grid’s forward looking scenarios included narrowing margins ahead but the question was—

How small is small? At what point do we start to squeal that it is too small?38

33. He viewed “loss of load expectation” as a better measure, informed as it was by economic analysis, and the threshold for that being, by coincidence or otherwise, the same as for France.39

34. The way the system operates was in need of a “major transformation” according to Mr Skillings, who described the current approach as aiming at 100% of generation to be available for 80% of the time. What would be better, he said, was to aim for a wider spread of that generation, the target being to have 90-to-95% available for 100% of the time.40 A similar view was expressed by Mr Keay who said—

It will not be just a matter of forecasting peak demand and ensuring that enough supply is available; it will be about integrating a large number of sources, and governments have not yet remotely started to get to grips with that.41

35. The phrase security of supply was a “bit old-think” in Mr Keay’s view, the system being “much more complicated”. Security was not only about the supply side but other inputs too, including demand side response.42 National Grid’s Mike Calviou hinted at just such a change, referring to a shift to a “more sophisticated system”, one that separated out peak security from year-round running.43

DECC position 

36. DECC’s approach was explained by Dan Monzani, who said that “overall security of supply that meets our reliability standard” was met by calculating the gigawatts of supply needed to meet peak demand and netting off the amount of renewable and other low-carbon generation in the mix. The latter is what will be required through the capacity auction. Assessment of what is needed to meet the reliability standard is carried out four years in advance and “fine-tuned” with one year to go.44 His colleague John Fiennes suggested that security of supply was shorthand for a simple idea—

… what we are really talking about is whether people are getting reliable energy services that allow them to go about their business and do what they want to do when they want to do it.45

Scottish Government position 

37. From a Scottish Government perspective, there was disquiet at aspects of UK policy. The Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism (“the Minister”), Fergus Ewing, said they were “particularly concerned that UK capacity margins have declined from 15% in 2009 to as low as 2% in 2016”.46 He told the Committee—

Anyone can see that a margin of 2% or thereabouts is parlously low.47

38. Mr Ewing cited the views of Sir John Arnott and Dieter Helm, who argued that it should be between 10 and 20%. Whether for Scotland or on a GB basis, Mr Ewing described a margin of 2-5% as “bad news” and something that ought to be addressed.48 Whilst recognising the importance of electricity, the Minister also highlighted the scale of heat and transport for energy demand, and encouraged consideration of the interaction of these components.49

39. Dr Graham Sweeney, accompanying the Minister, said the Scottish Government had commissioned a review of energy security from KPMG, led by Alistair Buchanan (former CEO of Ofgem), which had “confirmed our suspicions”. He suggested there was an economic dimension to the capacity margin; that electricity was about keeping water pumping and telecoms working as well as the lights on.50

40. Scottish Government official Dermot Rhatigan said the narrowing of the gap between supply and demand was likely to have a negative impact on consumers. He referred to academic Dieter Helm whose work demonstrated that “as the capacity margin falls, prices inevitably go up”.51

41. Dr Sweeney agreed with Dieter Helm’s view that, historically, capacity margins had been too high. The question for future policy was “whether very low capacity margins were sustainable”.52 He argued that the margin must be higher, connecting the issue with flexibility and investment. The commitment of National Grid to bring to the Scottish Parliament an annual capacity assessment for review was described as “huge progress”.53 However, the “case for regional-based criteria is clear” and “should be made with a loud voice”.54

42. Mr Rhatigan said the crux was whether we needed “more generation or more grid”, suggesting the former could be a “cheaper solution for Scotland”.55

43. Resilience, said Dr Sweeney, was key—

We need a proper plan, as opposed to a set of independent marketplace interventions, that add up to the resilient system that we want.56

Longannet, black start and transmission charges 

44. The Committee’s meeting on 11 March – the genesis of its inquiry into security of supply – focused on the future of Longannet, with evidence from National Grid, ScottishPower, SSE and Ofgem.

45. Mike Calviou of National Grid referred to work undertaken with the Scottish Government to look at risks to Scotland’s energy security in the scenario of there being no Longannet or Peterhead. From this it had been calculated that the extent of the risk, one entailing “low generation availability, low wind and perhaps the need for a double circuit transmission fault”, was that of a “one-in-600 year event”. He said—

… although people expect electricity always to be there, we have to think about these extreme risks.57

46. Addressing the impact of Longannet’s closure, National Grid stated there was “not a generation adequacy issue”.58 Ofgem referred to the impact on security of supply of not having Longannet or Peterhead power stations, the analysis showing “sufficient transmission capacity”. Additional voltage control was required until 2017 but that had been contracted for.59

47. Black start was something described by Mr Calviou as the “ultimate insurance policy”. There were four contracted black start stations in Scotland and neither Longannet nor Peterhead was among them. The grid in Scotland could be restarted without any thermal generation in Scotland but that would take longer.60 GB has never experienced a “full system black start”. The last serious event was the hurricane in 1987, when only part of the system had been affected. Having to bring back the whole system was a “worst, worst case” scenario.61 With Longannet and Peterhead online in addition to the current black start stations, Scotland could probably be restarted in 12 to 18 hours. If neither was available this would “probably” climb to 24 hours plus.62

48. The importance of Longannet to Scotland’s security of supply was not seen as especially significant by Simon Skillings, who suggested that, even at a minus five capacity margin, “we would still have buckets and buckets of capacity”.63 He said that rather than the focus being on keeping Longannet open “in perpetuity”, we should be looking at the demand side and transmission.64 Professor Karen Turner of the University of Strathclyde said Longannet provided half the base load and must be seen as an issue. She suggested that energy policy was given a “higher priority” in Scotland than at UK level, and that it was “closely interlinked” with wider economic policy here, including the growth in renewables.65

49. Longannet’s contribution to the resilience of the system during the previous winter was highlighted by University of Edinburgh’s Professor Stuart Haszeldine. He said that “in principle” Scotland could have managed without its input but there was a risk during “this inconvenient period” in which interconnection was not enough “to cover fully the missing Longannet”.66 The closure was predicted but somehow still came as a surprise. The closure of Peterhead, Hunterston B and Torness A and B could also be predicted—

Are we going to build more and more wires from south to north to manage the shortfall of electricity supply?67

50. Transmission charging (the regime applied to recover the cost of installing and maintaining the GB transmission system) was a recurring issue. The John Muir Trust described it as a “politically acceptable lightning rod” for wider dissatisfaction with the running of the system.68 Professor Turner was of the opinion that – given the policy of charging generators based on their proximity from generation centres – “no power stations will be built above the Watford gap”.69 A similar view was expressed by a number of witnesses. Mr Skillings counselled against focusing on “micro-policy issues”, suggesting what was important was to arrive at the right energy policy and to fit a charging regime around it – rather than the other way round.70

51. The time it has taken to revise transmission charging – Project TransmiT – was highlighted by Neil Clitheroe of ScottishPower, the process having begun with an initial proposal in 2008.71 Dr Neale Wade of Newcastle University saw it as a “complicated regime” but “cost reflective” and a means of precluding projects that would not be economically viable. He said we should consider the incentives and disincentives to judge whether the “right balance” existed in the system.72 This was touched on by Ofgem’s Martin Crouch, who said in the longer term a “different balance of demand and supply in Scotland” could result in changes to transmission charges, though he agreed it “looks less likely at the moment”. There was “clear value” to consumers – Scottish, English and Welsh – of a regime based not just on where generators were based but also the costs they create for the system. He said of the revised system—

… it is still true that generators in Scotland pay more than generators in England, just as consumers in Scotland pay less than consumers in England.73

52. Dr Wade pointed out there were connection charges as well as transmission charges and the Scottish Government could “have some direct influence” over the former when it came to how the planning regime applied to renewables projects.74

53. Mike Calviou described the local nature of transmission charges as a “signal to market” as to “the long-run impact of their decisions, such as where to build and where to close”. Costs were “equal and opposite” for supply and demand, generation costs higher in Scotland and the north of England, but lower for consumers, reflecting the flow of electricity in the system and where investment is required. He described “long-term economic benefits for all customers”, the charges being “dynamic” and “responsive to what is happening on the network”.75 On the suggestion of an alternative, “postage stamp” approach, he said—

In Scotland, the immediate impact of going to flat charging would be to raise bills by around £10 a customer.76

54. Kersti Berge of Ofgem said Project TransmiT had looked at flat charging and “socialising” the cost of transmission, the findings indicating that such a regime would add “about £7 billion” to people’s bills.77

55. Asked whether generators were being penalised in order to keep the lights on in England and Wales, Mr Calviou said this was about “providing a signal” for what should be built in Scotland – the “most effective low-carbon resource” – and what should not. This, he said, “incentivises efficient decisions”.78

CMA position 

56. As part of its investigation of the supply and acquisition of energy in GB, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) had looked into two aspects of transmission charging – losses and constraints. The losses relate to the heat that dissipates from the wires when electricity is transported long distances and account for about two percent of total generation. The cost of this differs according to location but the charging regime does not and the CMA’s provisional finding was that this “creates a distortion” in competition. The benefit to consumers in Scotland and the north of England – the figures have yet to be broken down – could be worth circa £40 million. Simeon Thornton of the CMA said—

… that could be good news for consumers here, but the generators and power companies that currently complain about the impact on their profitability of transmission charges will face a greater burden … 79

57. The constraints side was less clear cut. A household saving of £64 had been mooted but the CMA’s Tony Curzon-Price said the figure mostly came from transmission constraints rather than losses. He used the analogy of transporting milk by road, the spilling of which constituted a loss but a constraint arose if the road could carry no more traffic. The CMA had not pursued the constraint issue as a “European process” was addressing whether “geographical areas should be considered as one market or as several markets”.80

DECC position

58. DECC’s position was given by John Fiennes, who suggested that Scotland was “very well provided for” regarding generation and investment in transmission. When a power station closed, transmission pricing would “drop significantly” in that area, providing a spur to new investment, either in new hydro or smaller-scale thermal. Such was the potential of an “organic system”.81

Scottish Government position 

59. Mr Ewing held a contrasting view, questioning why any company would want to invest in new thermal generation when transmission charges were “of the order of £30 million per station more than they would be if the station was in Surrey”.82 The Minister said there was scope for new thermal generation in Scotland, post-Longannet, in Cockenzie or Peterhead, but—

… that is not going to happen because of the transmission charges.83

60. Dr Sweeney identified transmission charges as the “main cause” for the closure of Longannet and unwillingness to invest in new thermal plant.84 Regarding black start performance in Scotland, he suggested this would “deteriorate considerably” post-Longannet.85 Low capacity margins were “unlikely” to improve that situation.86

61. The Scottish Government had campaigned for a “fairer regime” for 10 years or so, the Minister said, one where charges would be the same throughout the UK. Ofgem had suggested reducing the charges in Scotland and, though in his view they could have gone further, he was supportive of that proposal.87

62. He told the Committee that Scotland still exported electricity about 98% of the time, but that the closure of Longannet would “significantly alter that”.88

Postscript 

63. It is worth noting that the Committee was informed by Ofgem on 6 August 2015 that the judicial review of Project TransmiT had been dismissed and the new charging system would commence from 1 April 2016.89

Transition, flexibility and balance 

64. As we move away from the use of fossil fuels and towards a renewables-driven approach, energy has become more of a political issue, raising questions over the ways in which we make it, where we get it, how much we pay for it, and how to manage the transition to a decarbonised economy.

65. Professor Harrison said the “crux of the issue around renewables” was what we do when the wind doesn’t blow. He pondered the viability of holding onto some fossil fuels in a “mixed system”, or moving further, to a point where we were mostly reliant on renewables—

It is really a matter of whether people want to pay for fuel or for capacity.90

66. ScottishPower’s Brian Galloway took “comfort” that the pace of replacing coal and older gas plant with new gas, renewables, nuclear and interconnectors was about right.91

67. On the basis that the energy future for Scotland was an interconnected one, stated Flexitricity, security of supply could be achieved with “far less” thermal generation than at present. However, a “no big generators” policy might not be desirable on the basis that interconnectors, when they fail, fail abruptly, and looking only at generation was an “incomplete” approach – the focus should be on “demand elasticity”.92

68. The issue for Professor McInnes was not so much the transition to low carbon, given that Hunterston and Torness already produce such electricity—

We are talking about a reconfiguration of our energy supply from one that is dependable to one that is intermittent.93

69. He said storage and interconnection had become the focus as we attempted to “make a square peg fit in a round hole”.94 His worry was not with renewables but with “overegging” onshore wind to the “long-term detriment” of affordable energy. Somewhere in the grid “large-scale thermal generation” was necessary—

… it does not matter how smart your grid is, you still have to put joules of energy into it somewhere.95

70. Simon Skillings was also concerned at the way in which we were moving from a high-carbon system to a low-carbon one. This transformation required replacement of assets and timing of that so as not to leave any gap in provision. The planning for this was happening in a “piecemeal way”.96

71. The Scottish Government’s policy on building no more nuclear was raised by Professor Turner, who queried the “nuclear footprint” from importing energy from elsewhere. Did this constitute a “nimby position” and would the attitude to new thermal become similar, if we were importing electricity from thermal plants elsewhere?97 Similarly, the Centre for Energy Policy asked – given that imported electricity will in future be part generated by new nuclear capacity in England – whether the “embargo on any future nuclear build on Scottish soil makes any rational sense?”98 In the opinion of Professor McInnes, we were discussing security of supply because—

… we are at a starting point of zero nuclear in maximising renewables, rather than taking a systems-level view that optimises for cost, security of supply and, increasingly, low carbon.99

72. He saw this as moving from “reliable, dependable 24/7 baseload”, provided by nuclear, to “intermittent” wind power; and contrasted the long-term investment in the south, whose new nuclear build might produce for 60 years) with the 20-25 year lifespan of wind energy generation.100 Dr Owens suggested that not having “back-up generation” in Scotland would be good for “headline emission levels” but would be passing those emissions to England. The question was whether you viewed this as a Scottish or UK issue.101

73. The absence of thermal – post-Longannet and in the scenario of Peterhead going – and the no nuclear approach was of concern to Sir Donald Miller and Colin Gibson. Their written submission warned of the “high risk” of Scotland not being able to meet energy demand in the 2020s.102

74. Mr Skillings pointed to research showing how best to address intermittency: demand side, transmission infrastructure, flexible generation assets, and storage. Realistically at present, he advised, demand side and transmission ought to be the focus.103 He referred to Germany, where the current question is whether to help existing utilities or push for “closing nuclear” and “tackling coal”. He said it was difficult for policy makers when the message from the established industries was “clear and coherent”, being well rehearsed, while that coming from the “new economy” was a “cacophony of noise”. It was a “fundamental asymmetry”.104

75. Flexibility was an approach emphasised by Dr Walker, though he said it was not always rewarded under the present market regime. He referred to inertia, voltage control and reactive power, saying engineers should be given the time to come up with “optimum solutions”.105 Dr Wade suggested the most “economic way” to build a system was linked to diversity, itself linked to interconnectedness and being part of the GB network.106 The importance of a diverse energy mix was also stressed by Kersti Berge. If there was a “shock” in one area, oil prices or the wind not blowing, then there were other means of generation. This could be achieved through the domestic market or via interconnection.107

76. Scale was important according to Mr Skillings, who made the case for a large system with more widely distributed “small bits of kit” over a small system with bigger units—

The risk of losing your power supply is far less if you are dependent on lots and lots of independent bits of electricity supply, demand reduction or whatever over a much broader footprint.108

77. The current rate of transition was an issue for Professor Haszeldine, who said, taking into account the current price and volume of renewables, it could take anything between 50 and 100 years. He predicted, though, that burning fossil fuels would soon be considered a “strange thing to do”, given the environmental and social costs.109 The problem was, when it came to shifting away from fossil fuels for our domestic heating and transport needs—

I see very little analysis of the implications of that for electricity supply and distribution in the UK.110

78. He calculated that at times, sometimes entire weeks, when wind generation “ticks along” at 10 or 20%, Scotland would need between 10 and 15 new Cruachan-like pumped storage facilities to meet the shortfall. This might be “mitigated” by “decentralising” and “dropping demand”.111

79. The Institute of Mechanical Engineers provided a gloomy outlook, suggesting the transition to renewables had “not been logically thought through”, the tools in place were “inadequate” and the use of fossil fuels beyond 2050 “appears inescapable”.112

80. It was wrong, according to Flexitricity, to say that intermittency called for the “constant running” of the same volume of fossil plant. That was to confuse capacity with production. It also overlooked improvements in forecasting renewable output and “trans-national balancing” options made possible by interconnectors.113 The organisation believed demand side response to be the “ultimate diversity technology” on the basis that—

… it replaces the traditional electricity equation (supply must equal demand) with its converse (demand must equal supply).114

81. Gina Hanrahan said research commissioned by WWF Scotland showed it would be possible to move to a system “close to 100% renewables” by 2030. She contrasted the traditional approach of meeting security of supply with base-load and peaking plants with a “more flexible and dynamic system in which we concentrate on demand reduction and enhanced storage, transmission and interconnection”.115 Ms Hanrahan encouraged playing to our “resource strengths”, arguing it would be “perverse” to build a lot of new thermal in Scotland, as that would limit the renewable generated electricity we could send down the wires.116 She described the Scottish Government’s target based on Committee on Climate Change advice as—

… a clear acknowledgment that decarbonising electricity is the first step to system-wide decarbonisation.117

82. National Grid was working on tools to operate the system in a “high renewables scenario” at a time of transition for the UK, Europe and beyond. This would not happen overnight, but “over 15 years or so”, sufficient time to prepare in her view.118

83. Professor Harrison argued that the costs of different generation sources were “roughly” the same but we “pay in different ways”. Nuclear incurred high capital costs but “modest” fuel costs, wind was nearly “all capital cost”, and gas-fired was “almost exclusively fuel costs”. Which to pick? There was no single solution.119

84. The non-replacement of thermal, in the view of Professor Haszeldine, would mean Scotland becoming “more and more like Northern Ireland” – with no thermal generation of its own and reliant on Scotland and in Scotland’s case, for “large parts of the year”, on England.120

DECC position 

85. DECC’s John Fiennes told the Committee that decarbonisation was not being undertaken by means of an “unreliable power supply”. Security of supply was the “primary objective”.121 Asked if there were priorities within the energy trilemma, his colleague Dan Monzani said they were attempting to “optimise” rather than pick preferences—

We are trying to use competition to make the decarbonisation and the security of supply pathways as affordable as possible.122

86. The UK was “on track” said Mr Fiennes to meet the electricity component of the renewables target for 2020 (the EU Renewable Energy Directive stipulates the UK must source 15% of its energy for heat, transport and power from renewable sources by then).123 On the matter of new gas-fired power stations, there was “potential” for more and “in a highly networked UK system” they could provide security of supply for all parts of the GB system. There would be a debate about whether to focus on one solution or on a range and what the cost would be of that choice.124 It “makes a lot of sense” for Scotland to focus on renewables “as part of the GB mix.125

87. The UK’s peak demand was about 10 times that of Scotland’s, Mr Monzani explained—

With a larger system, there is greater scale and more diversity, and it is possible to manage high levels of intermittent generation.126

88. He suggested “half the battle” was securing the system, the other half persuading people that the system would be secure. The “minutes away from blackout” stories were neither accurate nor helpful.127 Expressing optimism about the decarbonising process, he spoke of the “remarkable transition” made in recent years. Since 2013 10GW of coal and oil had come out of the system and 19% of power now comes from renewables. All achieved while keeping “stable levels” of energy security.128

89. Addressing the subject of nuclear, Mr Fiennes acknowledged that people “feel differently” about different power sources in different parts of the UK, and it was necessary to “respect and work” with those differences. The UK’s position was that nuclear had a part of play in a “balanced portfolio”.129

Scottish Government position 

90. From the Scottish Government perspective, the Minister said he did not see nuclear as the way forward. The costs to DECC of decommissioning were “mind-boggling”. In Scotland, Hunterston was expected to run until 2023 and Torness until “possibly 2030”. Mr Ewing said—

We have adopted a pragmatic and principled approach to nuclear power, but we are on a transition to meeting our electricity needs from more renewable sources.130

91. Mr Ewing referred to Scotland’s “huge energy resources” and said decisions on energy policy had “profound impacts” socially and economically. More clarity was needed as to where responsibility lay for security of supply and direction of policy at the UK level. He told the Committee—

We must maintain a balanced mix of energy sources. That has always been our position.131

92. He highlighted the Scottish Government’s belief in a mix of renewables, including solar power, hydro, tidal and marine, biomass and anaerobic digestion. The Minister also talked of the need to look to pumped storage, Tesla batteries, liquid air, and hydrogen.132

93. Mr Rhatigan said—

It is hard to know how things will turn out in the next few years because they are not driven by a plan; they are literally driven by how the market is evolving.133

Conclusions 

94. Security of supply, as we repeatedly heard, is a term that no longer quite fits the present day electricity market, ignoring, for example, the demand side of the equation. Eschewing the semantics and sticking with policy, it is evident to the Committee that a new approach is necessary, one that goes beyond the forecasting of peak demand and the need to ensure we have enough generation to match. What used to be a question of “how much?” is now as much a matter of “what kind?” and “where from?”, an approach that calls for integrating diverse sources of energy (while taking a strategic approach to long-term planning and a whole-system view that includes heat and transport as well as electricity) to maintain a system that powers so many aspects of our daily lives. The new approach must respond to the trilemma – the interests of security, cost and decarbonisation – and manage this in a way that maintains the confidence of public, government and industry at Scottish, UK and European levels.

95. The matter of energy security, or keeping the lights on, is also becoming more and more of a political issue. Debate over the future of nuclear power, the building of windfarms and the closure of ageing power stations – plus the spectre of power cuts, however far-fetched – can lead to entrenched argument, headlines and controversy. There are, as one witness put it, a lot of moving parts to this topic.

96. What the Committee heard in evidence covered a multiplicity of issues but no sense of impending disaster. We were told of a common misconception that there are two modes when it comes to security of supply – leisurely calm or all out emergency; either all is well and the lights stay on or, as one witness put it, we stumble into some near-Armageddon of darkness and cold. The hyperbole may be ridiculed but there is a serious point here, for our inquiry found no credence in the more excitable “minutes-away-from-blackout” coverage that tends to attach itself to this subject. It is important, of course, that a considered, credible and balanced approach is taken with planning, and to that end, in common with the Scottish Government, we welcome the commitment of National Grid to bring to the Scottish Parliament an annual capacity assessment for review.

97. The reality of the energy system in Scotland is that we are intrinsically part of a GB system that is itself connected with and increasingly dependent on a wider European system. We live in an increasingly interconnected world. No country – to borrow the title of a House of Lords committee report on the subject – is an energy island.

98. We note that the Scottish Government, while acknowledging that historically capacity margins have been too high, is critical of current UK policy. The Minister said margins are too low and there are likely to be negative consequences for investment, consumer bills and the wider economy. The key question, we were told, was whether Scotland needs more generation or better interconnection. The Scottish Government seems to favour the former approach, National Grid the latter. Greater clarity, more dialogue and ideally an alignment of policy are necessary if we are to avoid deadlock.

99. Transmission charging has become something of a vexatious matter. The Scottish Government says the charge discriminates against thermal generation here – existing and planned – and that it contributed to the early closure of Longannet. It wants a “fairer regime”. The counter view, presented by National Grid and others, is that transmission charging provides an effective signal that “incentivises efficient decisions” for generators and investors, and benefits Scottish energy consumers.

100. Transmission charging has been going through a lengthy process of review. We note that Ofgem’s reforms were welcomed by the Scottish Government but with the Minister expressing a desire to go further. Project TransmiT began in 2008 and cleared a judicial review only last month. It is expected to commence in its revamped form from April 2016. Due to the complexities surrounding this process the Committee recognises that further reform of the regime is unlikely in the near future. However, the Committee believes there should be greater clarity when it comes to communicating the costs and benefits to customers and generators, and also explaining how the charging regime fits with other public policy aims. We would welcome Ofgem’s suggestions on how this can best be achieved.

Demand

Background

101. On the other side of the equation, reducing demand was widely seen as a key element for improving security of supply. Witnesses highlighted the potential of demand-side response (“DSR”), the practice of using price signals to reduce demand and address stress on the system at peak times of consumption. DSR is already in use with large-scale customers in the private sector and extending it to household and small non-domestic users and improving the mechanism to better reward consumer behaviour could provide the key to changing habits and increasing the resilience of the energy system.

102. This section also covers development of the smart grid, new technologies and electricity storage, public engagement, the call for a demand reduction strategy, smart efficiencies, innovation on the supply side, and the length of contracts for DSR projects.

Demand-side response, public engagement, smart meters and storage 

103. Energy demand in Scotland has actually dropped in recent years, attributed to a combination of energy efficiency measures and rising fuel bills; the rate of decline being on a par with the UK as a whole, Germany and the Scandinavian countries.134

104. The Royal Society of Edinburgh made two predictions for the future: energy bills will go up and fuel poverty will continue to pose a societal challenge. On a more sanguine note, the possibilities for addressing the demand side and bringing about energy savings were “large”, the main obstacle being behavioural change.135

105. Lawrence Slade suggested DSR and energy efficiency would have “tremendous roles” in future energy policy. He highlighted the importance of addressing non-domestic consumption, but also addressing the quality of housing stock.136 Professor Bell wondered if demand-side management was being “undervalued”, National Grid’s approach to it perhaps being “overly cautious”.137 DSR or demand-side management could be as straightforward as a “participatory process”, explained Dr Owens. Research of a pilot scheme in Morayshire had shown that if people can be provided with “green information” and rewarded for changing their behaviour – putting their washing machines on only when the wind was blowing, costing them 5p per kilowatt hour, as compared with 17p when it was not – then you have a “very low-cost solution”, one that could be extended nationally and make an impact on peak demand.138

106. The demand side was “critical” but “always left behind” according to Professor Harrison. However, it was the very area we should be focusing on—

It is not sexy and it is hard to do … If you can reduce your energy consumption, everything else gets disproportionately easier.139

107. Michael Rieley of Renewables Scotland believed the roll-out of smart meters was a move in that direction but one that should be accompanied by “smart tariffs”. DSR could develop either at an “aggregated” level or be “much more localised” but we had to consider how it could work best for consumers.140 Asked whether this went against the grain of consumer groups seeking a simpler tariff system, he thought not, but suggested the question was “whether we need fewer or more, simpler tariffs”.141

108. Scottish Water’s 4,000 “consuming assets” were all smart metered and Chris Toop advised us to “keep it simple” in the number of tariffs and to use meters to “get a grip” on costs.142

109. Malcolm Keay was critical of the smart metering initiative, describing it as “half-hearted” and set up more to suit companies so that they would not have to go out and read meters. Such an approach did not encourage innovation. At some stage, he said, government intervention would be required on the demand side to “make things easier” for consumers. That might encompass smart appliances as well as smart meters.143

110. Energy UK’s Lawrence Slade agreed with Professor Harrison that energy efficiency was not a subject “spoken about in the evenings” and said the solution was to “change the story”. The way in which we communicate the message could be improved and he pointed to “several live studies” that showed the impact of smart meters on behaviour and demand—

We are not talking about saving energy; we are talking about stopping the waste of energy and money, and that plays out more strongly with consumers than other arguments.144

111. The view that the record of communicating with the public about energy was “really poor” was backed up by Dr Owens. He told the story of his 80-something mother who had had a new boiler installed via a government scheme, but the control device was the “size of a matchbox” so she kept pressing the on/off switch or hitting random buttons until the boiler came on—

Engineers tend to worry about numbers and little squares, but this is really about pictures, communication and ergonomics.145

112. The more we can bring the public with us, he said, the more likely it is that demand-side approach will have the impact we want.146

113. Asked about the evolving relationship between the public and the energy system, with storage and other technologies beginning to blur the lines between consumer and producer, Simon Skillings said—

The economics of the prosumer are changing enormously.147

114. He predicted a 20-year journey to get to that “different world” and called for “top-down political direction to overcome the obstacles.148

115. Professor Karen Turner talked about public perceptions and the merits of nudging the thinking away from the self – e.g. I have the right to drive my car or to turn my gas on – and towards a wider sense of having the right to transport or to be warm.149 She mentioned an encouraging UK study showing that 80% of people saw energy provision as the government’s responsibility, despite their utility bills being commercial contracts. It suggested households were thinking about energy as a “bigger thing”.150 Persuading people to arrive at the right decision by “thinking less” was Mr Skillings’ solution. We should be making it easier, he said, focusing on an approach to energy provision that improves “comfort, convenience and reduces their costs”.151

116. The notion that people tend not to think about energy was disputed by Heriot-Watt University’s Professor Susan Roaf, who suggested the 30% of people who cannot afford to heat their homes “care an awful lot about energy”.152 The “social function” of energy security was something she considered to have been overlooked by government departments, with their preference for “big energy solutions”. Once households have their own means of energy generation – solar roof panels, for example – people do not have to pay “ever-increasing energy bills”.153 That self-generation of energy was not limited to households. Chris Toop of Scottish Water said they would continue to “drive down and flatten out demand”, increase their own generation, and “take our resilience off the grid”.154 He told the Committee—

The cheapest unit of energy is the one that we do not use.155

117. Electricity Storage Network’s Andrew Jones suggested there were “not enough signals” to change consumer demand. One of the debates, he said, was whether the relatively cheap cost of electricity on a daily basis, compared to say a cup of coffee, precluded people from changing their consumption habits.156 It was not a view shared by Professor Roaf. Big energy companies did not favour the idea of “fewer people buying energy or paying less for it”. She argued for selective tariffs so, for example, that using a washing machine during certain times cost half as much as at peak times. Demand-side policy was “crucial”—

We must look at decoupling quality of life from the amount of money that is spent on energy.157

118. She argued the case for putting “systematic solar hot water and photovoltaics” on the roofs of social housing so as to lift those households out of fuel poverty “forever”.158

119. In the view of WWF Scotland there was not enough emphasis on the demand side in the Scottish Government’s Electricity Generation Policy Statement (“EGPS”). Gina Hanrahan told the Committee—

We would like the Scottish Government to come forward with a clear demand reduction strategy, whether as part of a wider electricity statement or as a standalone strategy.159

120. It was a call echoed by Mr Keay. He said the Scottish Government might be “constrained” by its powers but that it could still “provide a lead for the rest of the UK”.160 Both Ms Hanrahan and Mr Keay agreed that the market did not adequately incentivise demand-side reduction; the signals were not there.161 He suggested that we could learn from other industries, such as telephone and internet provision. We were no longer obliged to think of those services in terms gigabytes or call minutes. Subscriptions and other deals were now the norm. It would be useful to see consumer decision making in the face of “more innovative offerings” retail-wise. It could even lead to “cheaper ways to provide that sort of security in the system”.162 France used to have a system whereby a little red light went on in the home to inform people that electricity was more expensive—

We need a simple retail proposal such as that on off-peak heating that says that people can get cheap electricity when electricity in the system is cheap.163

121. Energy efficiency was “not the right concept”. Mr Keay preferred “smart efficiencies” and said this was not about efficiency per se but “creating more responsive demand”. The Scottish Government might usefully trial schemes in that area.164 Scotland does not have full power over energy efficiency, Ms Hanrahan said, but from the Smith Commission and the Scotland Bill we will be able to design new programmes or replace current ones. There was a “huge opportunity” to take action with what we do with heat.165

122. Flexitricity suggested that “with the right environment” DSR could provide the route by which heat pumps and electric vehicles become “enhancers rather than depleters of network security”—

… the question of generation adequacy is an incomplete one. The focus must also be on demand elasticity.166

123. The organisation drew attention to the “triad” system, by which business users had concentrated transmission charges for the three half hour winter peak demand periods. Without that system, we would have faced “several blackouts” during the last decade. The “very simple flaw” to these peak reduction mechanisms was that they were not available to domestic customers, the correction of which would be a step described as “necessary but insufficient”. Innovation by suppliers was also required.167

124. Moving away from a “passive” system that carried energy in one direction only to a “more intelligent grid” was the issue for the Energy Networks Association (“ENA”). Such a system should maximise data monitoring and automation to manage energy demand and flows. Expanding networks in order to connect to new forms of generation would be key and the public should be “engaged in a conversation” about the costs and benefits of investment in “smarter networks”.168

125. Most utilities had “little to gain” from diversity, in Flexitricity’s view, as it leads to competition, but National Grid and the distribution network operators had developed “smart grid” as a “tool for system security”.169 ENA argued a smart grid was “vital” but would bring about “new vulnerabilities” with more access points providing opportunities for cyber-crime. Collaboration and best practice were the solutions, the association and its members having set up a Cyber Security Forum to “identify and mitigate risk”.170

126. Mr Keay identified an imbalance between the supply and demand sides; the percentage of support for decarbonisation amounting to just 10% for the latter, and even that being in the “perverse” form of tax relief from carbon taxes. There was nothing like the feed-in tariffs on the demand side. He said—

We do not know how much consumers value reliability, how much they would be prepared to put into storage, whether they are prepared to be flexible and use such things as off-peak storage heating.171

127. Storage was raised by numerous witnesses. ScottishPower’s Brian Galloway encouraged us to “build consensus” on the importance of storage as part of the “total energy system”,172 recognising its potential to balance the system and provided “much needed flexibility”.173 Lawrence Slade said it involved a “multitude of technologies” and carried “many unknowns”.174 Professor Bell suggested the area should be “examined very carefully”.175 Dr Wade thought the market here was “not well developed” to encourage storage development. In the US and especially California it was seen as “critical”. He also said that storage could play a role in improving security of supply, in the sense of helping to deliver power to all the demand points (rather than being about “enough generation”).176

128. Mr Keay told the Committee that Scotland had more off-peak storage heating than “most countries” but rather than focus on particular technologies, such as pumped storage, we should be considering pricing and incentives for consumers. Without an off-peak meter—

There is absolutely no incentive for any consumer to store electricity, as the costs are the same whether they use electricity at 5 in the afternoon or at 2 in the morning.177

129. Storage, said Professor Bell, looked “most economic” from a “whole-system point of view” but the market mechanisms might not be right.178 It would be timely to review those arrangements.179 According to Professor Arbon—

It is very difficult to make a financial case for energy storage, but we do not see how the system works without it.180

CMA position 

130. Simeon Thornton observed that most complaints by energy customers concerned bills and arose because the information was difficult to understand. Smart meters could help to address the problem and be part of that change of thinking required to on the demand side—

The confusion about the bill, what people are paying, the visibility of their consumption and what they pay for it will be improved, so there is a real possibility that smart meters will be part of the transformation.181

131. The CMA’s investigation into the supply and acquisition of energy in GB had specifically addressed the length of agreements issue, after one supplier had argued that it was unfair for a new generating plant to have a 15-year deal while people investing in DSR capability were given only one year. Simeon Thornton said he “saw the argument in principle” but that there was no evidence of DSR projects coming forward with “significant capital outlays” that were being thwarted by the system. It was “more of a theoretical one for the future than a practical concern today”. The matter was also being looked at by the European courts.182

DECC position 

132. On behalf of DECC, Dan Monzani favoured the holistic approach and getting the “market signals right” for storage rather than thinking about it in relation only to electricity or particular technologies. He saw an “increasing role” for storage over the next 10-20 years though—

Whether that will be pumped storage, Tesla batteries or some other new technology is an interesting question.183

133. There were mechanisms to encourage investment in storage “if and when that is economically needed on the system” but for now “storage is probably a bit too expensive”.184 DSR in general though he described as having the potential to meet peak demands “in a cost effective way”.185

134. John Fiennes wondered about unseen barriers to DSR and stressed the importance of questioning policy to head off any unintended consequences. On the subject of smart meters, he contrasted the big electricity users, knowing the price, with smaller customers, who might not have the information to “secure the value”. However, the roll out could bring benefits in respect of “carbon, security and cost effectiveness”.186 Work was being undertaken in that area by Ofgem, the network and energy companies. Google was also said to be interested in developing technologies to complement the smart meter initiative.187

135. DSR, interconnection, storage and pumped storage were all seen as part of the picture of the market “dealing with peaking” and Mr Monzani said that, while “trying to be technologically neutral”, DECC was endeavouring to understand the barriers companies were facing.188 Asked about the far shorter length of contracts for projects on the demand side compared with the supply side, he said that the DSR sector had not produced evidence of “large capital requirement” equivalent to a new power station or storage facility. DECC was running two “prototypical transitional arrangements”, one-year-ahead auctions for capacity in 2016-17 and 2017-18, “exclusively” for the DSR sector, in order to help them compete with other technologies in the 2017 auction.189 He said—

I highlighted the demand side response because that is where we have a really exciting opportunity to flex our requirements at peak demand.190

Scottish Government position 

136. Fergus Ewing emphasised the Scottish Government’s funding of energy efficiency measures in homes, totalling circa half a billion pounds since 2009.191 The Minister also referred to the heat plan and pointed out that four fifths of Scotland’s energy consumption was heat. He told the Committee—

We want to see district heating taken forward.192

137. Asked whether there was a representative with DSR expertise on the Scottish Energy Advisory Board, Mr Ewing said he would write to the Committee on the matter. The subsequent correspondence stated that the First Minister and Professor Sir Jim Macdonald, as co-chairs of the board, would “reflect” on the point.193

138. On the subject of the EGPS, Mr Rhatigan said there would be opportunity to review it and that in order to be “more consistent and coherent” this would be done alongside documents relating to heat and transport.194

139. The Minister emphasised the Scottish Government’s willingness to work with the UK Government “whenever possible” on energy matters and specifically to establish a “joint intergovernmental group” to consider storage solutions.195 There was “not just one solution” and he echoed an earlier witness who had argued for storage to be factored in at all levels: transmission, distribution and household—

We believe that storage solutions should play a greater part in the overall mix.196

140. He saw “real opportunities” in pumped storage, saying the two existing stations in Scotland could be supplemented by two more consented schemes to “excellent purpose”.197

141. Mr Rhatigan said the Committee had heard a lot about the “value of storage”, describing it as “uniquely beneficial” in respect of its reliability, but so far it did not seem to “stack up economically”. Hence the Minister’s offer to establish a joint intergovernmental group.198

Conclusions 

142. The demand-side of this topic is not straightforward and does not generate headlines but it is very much seen as the direction in which we should be going. Communication to consumers about saving energy has been largely ineffective to date. Public information and engaging with consumers to show how they can save money through lower utility bills is something that governments seem to struggle with. The world of the “prosumer” may be some way off but the Committee agrees with the evidence that we should be striving to make things easier for people to think and act differently – whether by seeking to bring about behavioural change in our consumption habits via policy nudges or price incentives, or by simplifying bills and making meters smarter.

143. How much do consumers value reliability? How many of us would use storage? How ready are we to be flexible in our energy use? It would seem that nobody really knows. The Committee therefore asks the Scottish Government – ideally in conjunction with Ofgem – to look more closely at demand-side response; and, having heard the suggestion made by Malcolm Keay and WWF Scotland, we recommend that it produces as a priority a demand reduction strategy, either as part of a wider and revised document (the Electricity Generation Policy Statement for example) or a strategy in its own right.

144. Such a strategy would include options for new powers on energy efficiency programmes that are due to be devolved, including those in relation to private housing and non-residential buildings. The Committee also invites the Scottish Government to consider the following elements: a detailed implementation plan for delivery of the energy efficiency National Infrastructure Priority; new targets for installation of local, household and community energy systems; assessment of pilot community schemes – such as the Morayshire example referred to by witnesses – and the provision of financial and in-kind government support for similar projects across the country; and development of policy assessment tools to assist in understanding the impact of policies across all areas of devolved responsibility on energy demand and not just electricity.

145. Specifically on the subject of smart meters, a UK-wide initiative, the Committee welcomes progress, but – in light of evidence heard during our inquiry suggesting a less than fully committed approach – we believe a greater input and lead from government will be necessary if the full potential of the scheme is to be achieved. Accordingly we ask the UK Government to clarify how it intends to optimise outcomes from the consumer and demand-side perspectives and we also seek the views of the Scottish Government on the matter.

146. Relevant to DSR, provisions in the Scotland Bill, once implemented, will enable the Scottish Government to design new energy efficiency programmes and consider replacement of existing ones. The Committee will consider planned Scottish Government activity, including the Minister’s desire to take forward district heating, when we conduct our budgetary scrutiny for 2016-17. In the meantime, we ask the Scottish Government to set out those plans for progressing with district heating.

147. We welcome the Scottish Government’s willingness to work with the UK Government “whenever possible” on energy matters and specifically to establish a “joint intergovernmental group” to look at storage solutions. The Committee wishes to be updated as and when that work progresses and on other relevant areas of co-operative working in the energy field.

148. Having already asked the Scottish Government about the lack of DSR expertise on the Scottish Energy Advisory Board, we ask that the Scottish Government confirm what action it has taken to address this.

Network

Background

149. This section looks at where investment should be directed, the importance of interconnectors, the European dimension, the role of National Grid, and issues around leadership, direction and planning.

Investment and affordability

150. ScottishPower was investing more in infrastructure than ever, Brian Galloway told the Committee. He could see “strength” in renewables, distribution and transmission, with no sign of that investment diminishing—

Ideally, we would prefer some thermal plant alongside intermittent renewables, but the investment story is still reasonably robust.199

151. Professor Arbon said for all the talk of affordability, we seemed not to think too much about how we produce our energy. Electricity was still mostly produced in ageing power stations, sunk assets the replacement of which was “likely to cost an awful lot more”. A “realistic view” was called for.200 Costs, whatever the energy mix and for all the talk of investment in storage and interconnectors, would be carried by the consumer, directly or otherwise, said Professor McInnes.201 Professor Harrison said—

… whichever one you pick, it will cost you.202

152. The case for a “conversation” about public subsidy and whether to cover this via taxation or energy bills was made by Lawrence Slade. The transparency of how that money is spent and where it should be directed was “vital”.203 Mr Galloway agreed and cited the importance of public understanding of “costs and trade-offs”.204 Simon Skillings distilled the nature of energy investment—

The private sector can decide whether it invests but what gets built is largely the subject of government policy.205

153. He said there was no “classic, speculative merchant” approach or looking for a “punt” against future prices or the behavioural changes of consumers. The driver was a government-designed mechanism but not one able to link decisions to “broader energy policy objectives”. He gave an example of this “incoherence” in the form of the interconnection link being built between Norway and the east coast of England that could go via the Dogger Bank and build a hub so as to reduce connection costs for offshore wind there. Such a decision could bring in a “whole new class of asset” but what was driving the project was the cost of the link and that cost alone.206

154. Professor Turner wondered whether the change of UK Government policy regarding support for onshore wind might provide Scotland with an opportunity to look at the “investment environment” here. Her view was that the green deal had not delivered, and those involved in energy generation at the community level faced “big problems” in trying to connect to the grid.207 Private sector investors did not need to “take a wider view”, only to keep their shareholders satisfied.208

155. Certainty was what was desirable from the energy generators’ viewpoint, as Eric Leavy of ScottishPower Energy Networks explained. It was a “bit tricky” to forecast what capacity should be 10 years hence—

More certainty about medium-term policy in certain areas would help us to decide how to satisfy demand.209

156. He suggested the 10-year timeframe was “consistent” with the time it takes to develop “large-scale infrastructure” such as a power station or a “major transmission connection”.210 National Grid’s Mike Calviou said that new transmission “generally” takes between four and eight years, though wind generation can be quicker, and photovoltaic can take “less than a year from virtually nothing to a connected project”.211 There were “hard decisions” to be made about future scenarios e.g. if Scotland’s nuclear was closed early. There were no “straightforward solutions”—

Is it better to invest early to be on the safe side, even though it might turn out that lots of stuff that has been built is not needed? Or is it better to leave it and rely on other solutions coming along, even though they might be quite expensive?212

157. Planning-wise, companies were said to be investing about £7 billion in transmission assets over the next six years but it was important to consider the best options for managing the system. Was the building of “big kit” – pylons and undergrounding – always the answer? Kersti Berge of Ofgem said—

We want the system operator to engage more closely with the transmission companies in doing that work.213

158. She suggested there was room for improvement on the delivery side. In the longer term, though, the introduction of “more competition” for the onshore transmission network, as has been the case with interconnectors and offshore connections, should drive down prices and benefit consumers.214

Scottish Government position 

159. From a Scottish Government perspective, Dr Sweeney made the case for a “regional-based criteria” for investment in capacity rather than an “entirely mechanical view” of what the margin should be. Asked about the impact on the consumer of paying for additional capacity, he said the “more telling point” was the cost of “outages”. Too little capacity would reduce economic activity—

We need a resilient system, and we need to have an economically optimised outcome.215

160. Dermot Rhatigan gave the example of the cost of the National Grid having to procure “additional voltage control” in advance of the western high-voltage direct current cable being linked up.216

The European context and an interconnected future

161. We were “increasingly operating” in a wider European market when it comes to energy production and capacity, Brian Galloway pointed out.217

162. Most witnesses were not as stringent in their view of the EU’s approach to energy security as a report by the House of Lords European Union Committee from 2013. In No Country is an Energy Island: Securing Investment for the EU’s Future that committee declared itself—

… alarmed at the degree of uncertainty, complacency and inertia about how an affordable supply of secure and low carbon energy will be provided in the EU”.218

163. Professor Bell emphasised the economic savings to consumers of “sharing” energy security or reserve capacity across the continent, amounting to “hundreds of millions of Euros a year”. (Mr Skillings suggested the figure was more like tens of billions.219) This was an accompanying “political dimension” too – for example, the UK and France favoured capacity markets but the European Commission considered such an approach not to be in consumers’ best interests.220 The Commission’s perspective was that the UK had “fantastic renewable resources” – wind, wave and tidal – and these should be used to benefit all European consumers and contribute to meeting climate targets. Elsewhere, in the south of Europe, there was strength in solar power. It was about how to “optimise access”.221

164. Managing to “mesh those markets” would not be straightforward, said Mr Galloway. Market arrangements, taxes and levies varied. It would take time to make it work—

Ultimately, procuring capacity has a cost and scarcity has a value. Therefore, there will be an impact on consumers.222

165. Transmission charging was a regime operated in only three countries: UK, Ireland and Sweden. Professor Turner was concerned we could be at a “disadvantage” in the wider European market when it came to attracting investment. If imports increased and net generation fell, this could represent an “obstacle” to securing supply.223 Marco Giuli of the European Policy Centre said “one of the big problems” at a European level was the “completely uncoordinated patchwork” of support schemes for renewables—

The top-down proposal of a completely uniform market design was rejected.224

166. The energy union should present an “opportunity and not a problem” said Malcom Keay. He was “pessimistic”, however, about the Commission coming up with a “new market design” for renewables and DSR, but at least the “first step” had been taken now it had recognised the “challenge”. It was a “bit of a messy situation” across Europe and he was sceptical about central government’s ability to makes matters more coherent. Market signals may be required to help. He was also of the view, beyond co-operation between national regulators, that there should be a body whose duty was to the European consumer.225 Mr Giuli advised that the energy union called for a “change of mind-set” by member states, the first step being a “common assessment of generation and adequacy”.226

167. The proposals for an energy union referred to such concepts as “market coupling” and “market splitting” but the impact on consumer prices would be “broadly the same” said National Grid’s Mike Calviou. Energy prices would “on average” be lower in Scotland due to our excess of renewable generation.227 Greater interconnection within Europe suggested “efficient trading” and “opportunities for consumer benefits”.228 Whether the “locational signal” was through the energy market or transmission prices could go either way.229 There were times when National Grid had received criticism for “being too prudent” in its assessment of how much energy the UK could import at peak but the benefits of interconnection were recognised—

We could be fully self-sufficient, but it would come at a price.230

168. Interconnectors represented “one of the big uncertainties” according to Dr Walker. The France-GB link flowed according to price signals, a “point-to-point commercial arrangement”, so its reliability was open to question.231 Newcastle University’s Dr Neal Wade also suggested the way they were currently used “does not necessarily contribute to security of supply”.232 Energy UK was undertaking a piece of work on the role of interconnectors in the market, publication planned for later in the year.233 According to Mr Giuli, interconnection was the way to assure security of supply. Expanding the “geographical deployment” of renewables, for example, was the best way for them to contribute to the system—

Energy security cannot be fully achieved in a completely insulated system.234

169. The approach in Europe was “encouraging”, with advances particularly in the approach of “coupling”, but the results overall were “quite meagre”. Despite a “new political impetus” to push interconnection, there was only a “half endorsement” of the idea of European energy union from the Council of Ministers.235

170. Interconnection was “considered conservatively” in energy security analyses, in the view of WWF Scotland. Gina Hanrahan spoke of the long-term benefit that would come from being “more integrated” as an energy union. It could lower the cost of “energy transition” and several studies showed the “value” that interconnection could contribute.236 That Norway, for example, produced a lot of pumped hydro storage, could be the “natural complement” to the wind power and other renewables generating energy in Scotland.237 Ms Hanrahan acknowledged concerns about peak demand points occurring at roughly the same time with European neighbours but suggested “unplanned outages” tended not to coincide—

If a big piece of kit comes off the system because of problems with seaweed, jellyfish or anything else like that, it is unlikely that the same thing will happen at the same time in another country.238

171. A note of caution was sounded by Malcolm Keay, who agreed with WWF Scotland’s view of interconnection as might apply to a “large and fully interconnected” landmass, such as Europe. He was not so convinced this was the case for an island, and wondered, by emphasising interconnectors over power stations, whether—

… that is replacing one risk with another, as there is a risk the interconnector will not be available.239

172. Speaking about interconnectors to the Western Isles and Scottish islands more generally, Ofgem said the projects represented “big investments”, about £800 million in the case of the Western Isles and £1 billion for the Caithness Moray link, and we had to ensure generation “comes on” before companies make that kind of investment.240

173. Taking the Committee on something of a virtual European tour, Kersti Berge said that France was primarily nuclear, in Norway it was hydro, and Denmark had wind but with wind patterns different to our own. Being connected to these markets, with their different energy mixes, contributed to security of supply—

… because the probability of shortages or of things being tight in our market and their markets at the same time is much lower.241

DECC position 

174. The Norwegian interconnection was described by DECC as a “win on all the dimensions of the trilemma”242 – gaining access to a low-carbon market, helping “stabilise” our system (at times of “extreme system stress”243) and reducing bills. John Fiennes said there was another project “in principle” for connecting Norway to Peterhead244 and also a project to link to Iceland.245 DECC was promoting an “active programme” of interconnection between GB and Europe and “potentially further afield”.246 Projects were being funded not in a “completely merchant way” but by a “cap-and-floor regime”, so if there were big returns then a share goes to the consumer or in a worst-case scenario the debt is covered.247 Interconnection, explained Dan Monzani, could offer both base-load power and capacity at peak.248

Scottish Government position 

175. Dermot Rhatigan suggested that one way of making more of the potential of storage technology might be to consider a cap-and-floor mechanism similar to that used for the funding of interconnectors.249 The Scottish Government wanted more interconnection capacity, he said, recognising the “real benefits” it can bring to consumers; but the future was hard to predict as this was being “driven by economics” more than planning.250

A question of leadership 

176. Brian Galloway described security of supply as being National Grid’s “main responsibility”.251 Professor Turner suggested we should consider the case for having a non-profit publically accountable body leading “systems operations”, as was the case in Australia.252 Simon Skillings felt that, in the absence of a “strategic mechanism”, National Grid has to “fly in the wind” with its approach to planning.253 An “independent system operator” was the norm outside Europe—

We are stuck with a problem that we have to resolve, which is that we have a privately owned company – privately owned companies, if we look across Europe – delivering the public interest.254

177. The experience in Australia, the US and elsewhere, showed that a “body of expertise” can tackle the difficult issues and “be made to understand” the demand side.255 Mr Skillings said he would never criticise the professionalism of National Grid. The organisation was doing what it was asked which was to maintain the system within “certain safety limits”. It was not asked to “think in the longer term”.256 Ofgem’s Kersti Berge said the UK Government sets policy on energy mix and also targets to ensure that the mix enables energy security to be met. National Grid monitors those targets.257

178. In a report earlier this year by the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee, on The Resilience of the Electricity System, it was concluded that the UK Government “had little choice but to play a greater role” in managing the system—

Balancing security of supply, sustainability and affordability (the trilemma) is a first order issue for the Secretary of State.258

179. Addressing the role of National Grid, several witnesses set out its two functions, being both the system operator and a transmission company in its own right. Eric Leavy said—

Someone has to be the UK system operator – someone has to hold the ring.259

180. Emphasising the separation between the roles of systems operator and transmission owner, Ms Berge said National Grid was the “right body”.260

181. On a wider point of leadership, Donald Miller and Colin Gibson, in written evidence, described the structure of the industry as “defective”, in that nobody had a “clear responsibility” for securing reliability of our electricity supplies either in the near future or the next 6-10 years, being the time it would take to build new generating plant.261 They called for either an “examination” of the industry’s “structure and obligations” or the Scottish Government to seek powers to “vary the modus operandi” of the industry in Scotland. Their preferred approach was that suppliers be required to maintain a “sufficient margin of capacity”, with transmission and generation to come under the responsibility of a non-for-profit body.262

182. That the approach should be overhauled was a point also made by Mr Skillings. The UK Government had tended to see its role as taking the longer-term view on adequacy of resources in order to enable National Grid to deal with the shorter-term decision making. This was an “elegant solution to the problem of perhaps 20 years ago” but the issue now was not just “how much supply” but also “what sort of supply”.263

DECC position 

183. For DECC, John Fiennes said that National Grid had a “fully merchant arm” (doing some interconnection business among other things), a “regulated arm” (covering transmission) and a system operator role (“more akin to a public policy function”). He had no concerns about the separation of these functions and described the organisation as a “bit whiter than white”264 but there were two debates. One was the case for an independent system operator (“ISO”), as exists in some other countries. The other was whether, given the pace of change, we should have a “system architect”. DECC took no view at this stage but thought it “fair” to ask the question—

We have always had a predict-and-provide model, but is that really where we need to be over the long term? Can we be sure the system will remain secure and represent value for money?265

184. National Grid possessed “skills and strengths” and the system “works well”. Changes have already been made to ensure it is “fair and seen to be fair”. Ofgem was said to be looking at the issue for the longer-term. Would having more storage and DSR make the case for an ISO? Mr Fiennes said the matter seemed “fairly finely balanaced”.266

Scottish Government position 

185. For the Scottish Government’s part, the Minister told the Committee—

I welcome the assurances that National Grid has now made about having a more transparent relationship with this Parliament … 267

186. Mr Ewing did not doubt the “technical expertise” of National Grid. The issue was who held “ultimate responsibility” for the UK’s security of supply and he saw that as being the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change – and “ultimately” the UK Cabinet – despite being told by UK Government that National Grid was “arbiter”. If the “theory” was it was the UK Government but in “practice” it was the National Grid, then, he suggested, that was an “inherently unsatisfactory position”. He called for “more clarity”.268

187. Dr Sweeney did not consider it National Grid’s remit “to keep the lights on”. Its generation and transmission were separate operationally and it was “hard to see” how it could be accountable for outcomes. A “putative independent regulator in Scotland” would differ in structure and hold “clear accountability” for delivering an energy security strategy at a time of “substantial” changes, especially with DSR—

We are going to move to a completely different world. We need somebody to plan to be resilient in that world, and we need to know who that is.269

Conclusions 

188. The Committee has previously considered the matter of Western Isles interconnection and we recognise the longstanding frustration expressed by the local authority and others who want this project to be realised. It is encouraging however that Scottish and UK Government Ministers were involved in the work to push this project forward and we seek an update from the Scottish Government on this work in particular but also on progress concerning interconnection for the islands overall.

189. We ask the Scottish Government to elaborate on the “regional-based criteria” for investment in capacity, as mooted by Dr Sweeney during its evidence. We would like to see the detail of how such a proposal would work and the costs anticipated – operationally and for consumers. Once more information is available the Committee would welcome Ofgem’s perspective on the matter.

190. The Committee listened closely to the debate about the role of National Grid and discussion of the merits of an independent systems operator (ISO) as well as the whole system approach that might be better encouraged by appointment of a system architect. During the Scottish Government’s evidence, Dr Sweeney referred to a “putative independent regulator in Scotland”. The Committee requests that both the Scottish Government, in its response to this report, and the UK Government – given we are talking about the GB system – set out how they see the future role of National Grid, the case for an ISO (if they discern one), and the benefits or otherwise that they consider a system architect could bring to the oversight and longer-term planning of the energy system.

Market

Background

191. As part of its wider Electricity Market Reform (“EMR”) programme, the UK Government has put in place a Capacity Market – also referred to as a Capacity Mechanism (“CM”) – which is due to commence in 2018. The CM is intended to address market failures and encourage investment by providing a regular retainer payment to reliable forms of capacity (both demand and supply side), in return for such capacity being available when the system is “tight”.270

192. Another feature of the EMR, along with the CM, is Contracts for Difference (“CfD”) – a contract between a low-carbon electricity generator and government-owned firm, at the end of which the parties exchange the difference between opening and closing prices; the idea being to offer more certainty to the generator while also protecting the consumer.

193. The Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) was at the time of this inquiry undertaking its own investigation, into the supply and acquisition of energy in the GB market. The remit of the CMA is to seek out any practices “likely to prevent, restrict or distort competition”, which would constitute what it labels an “adverse effect on competition (“AEC”).271 As part of its provisional findings, the CMA had identified AECs regarding the “pricing of transmission losses”, the “mechanism for allocating contracts for difference”, and the “settlement system for both gas and electricity”.272

194. This section addresses views on the EMR, CM and CfDs, plus the CMA’s investigation and provisional findings.

Electricity Market Reform, Capacity Market and Contracts for Difference 

195. Given the work put into EMR, it was “extremely important” said Lawrence Slade, that it be given time to bed in. When it starts to deliver, it must do so “from a whole-market perspective”.273 Similarly, given EMR’s infancy and the “extensive consultation” that had informed it, Intergen stated in a written submission—

… it is imperative to maintain policy and regulatory stability, at EU, UK and national levels.274

196. Professor Arbor was critical on the basis that EMR “ignores” 80% of the market when security of supply is relevant to the market in its entirety. Heat energy, for example, was the largest area of demand for Scotland.275 A “lack of sufficient clarity” regarding the roles of renewables and offshore wind in particular and how this has “played out” in the “policies and regimes” of the EMR was cited by East Lothian Council.276 The levy control framework, which determines how much is spent and what on, was mentioned by Simon Skillings, who described it as “completely opaque”—

… so how do we know that the public money that is spent is being spent to help to ensure that we deliver policy objectives in the uncertain future that we face and not being driven by shorter-term, perhaps political reasons?277

197. He said at the European level there was a “vibrant debate” with two views emerging of what the market should look like. One might be labelled “electricity market 2.0” and would be created around low-carbon generation and the “customer’s perspective”. The other was about mechanisms that allow utilities to build a “more viable business model”. Germany was leading that debate.278

198. Malcolm Keay was emphatic in his appraisal—

… the fundamental problem is one of broken markets. There is no proper way for markets to give signals to producers or consumers … 279

199. Capacity payments were a “short-term fix” he said, not enabling a “new operating system” to emerge. Supply side support was about “pushing investment” and was not market reform though it was described as such. There was nothing to ensure the “right mix” between supply investment and that on the demand side. The markets had no way of dealing with an excess of a “certain sort of generation”. There were many unknowns about consumer preferences on matters such as reliability, storage and flexibility, making it “difficult for any government … to say what will be optimal”. Present policy was about providing “patches” and could not be the “ideal long-term solution”.280

200. Equally unimpressed was WWF’s Gina Hanrahan—

The current market design will clearly not be enough to get us to 2030 and beyond – to the truly flexible, dynamic, low-carbon system of the future towards which we are working.281

201. There were “no real incentives” to build new pumped storage, with no way to get a return through the CM or any other means. DSR was not adequately incentivised, with one year rather than 15 year contracts, and there was no framework to encourage energy efficiency in the longer term. “The signals are not there” she said.282

202. Warning of a “beneficial policy” being lost in the detail and ending up as a barrier to “innovative approaches to energy security”, Flexitricity pointed out that the CM had resulted in more contracts for “low-capital merchant generators” than for those on the DSR side—

Since the core goal of the Capacity Mechanism was to fill the power station investment gap, it could be argued that it has failed.283

CMA position 

203. The CMA’s scrutiny of the Capacity Market had not uncovered any AECs, and – having looked at “various design issues” – its members had concluded it to have been a “good idea”. Simeon Thornton told the Committee—

We found that there was a coherent argument for the introduction of the capacity market.284

204. However, two aspects of CfDs had been found wanting. One was DECC’s decision not to allocate a proportion of them on a competitive basis; the other the definition of different budgets and pots. The recommendation was for “greater transparency” around the costs and benefits that informed the decision-making process. Some technologies might be cheaper than others but that needs to be “amenable to scrutiny and analysis”—

The more of that evidence and information we can put into the public domain, the better the decision-making process.285

205. Mr Thornton speculated that technologies could be divided into pots to distinguish them “according to their security of supply characteristics” e.g. intermittent technologies in one pot and more stable ones in another. But that was not his “understanding” of the approach DECC had actually taken. The CMA recommended a “social cost benefit analysis”, setting out the evidence for supporting one technology over another and including the “additional costs today” for the consumer and “how those costs might be brought down in the future”.286

206. In terms of DSR and the smart metering initiative, the CMA was positive about the principle but circumspect in one particular regard. Mr Thornton described “settlement” – the system by which disparities between the amount of energy procured by suppliers and the amount used by their customers are identified and “made whole” in the system – as “quite an arid area” but an important one. Under the settlement system, suppliers were remunerated according to a predetermined profile. The “problem” was that even with the introduction of smart meters, the system of settlement would remain and the evidence showing the benefits of consumer incentives – such as time-of-use tariffs – ignored. The “prize”, reflecting actual energy use, rather than benefiting consumers, was likely to end up with those energy companies most attuned to the workings of the market—

It is a very big prize. Unless we change the settlement system we cannot exploit it.287

207. Through its investigation the CMA had found that the customers engaging least with the energy market – in respect of an awareness of what was on offer or their behaviour e.g. switching supplier – and “leaving most money on the table” were generally those who were vulnerable against a number of the recognised characteristics (low incomes, low education levels, people with disabilities etc.).288 In some cases there were specific barriers. Those customers on prepayment meters, for example – of which there was a higher proportion in Scotland – were not as able to benefit from competition, because there tended to be fewer tariffs for them, plus they paid more than customers not on prepayment.289

208. What could be done? Mr Thornton talked about “behavioural remedies” (looking at way of facilitating decision making rather than merely assuming people will act accordingly), changing the settlement system (to encourage suppliers to “offer products that engage customers”) and “transitional safeguards” (for certain categories of customers who were unable to engage).290

209. Addressing the cost to households in the wider sense, given rising utility bills, was there any indication that the big energy companies were in cahoots? Mr Thornton suggested not. There was a degree of “what we might call parallelism” – when one company announces a price change, the others follow – but no evidence of “tacit co-ordination”—

We found that the companies are subject to basically the same cost pressure and to a commercial pressure, which is not to increase prices on the standard variable tariff until they absolutely have to.291

DECC position 

210. For DECC, John Fiennes said the UK market was by European standards “not very concentrated”, there being a “significant amount” of independent generation. The use of auctions was a “powerful way to drive value” and to ensure too much control did not go to too few players. This was done partly through CfD and partly through the capacity mechanism.292

211. Mr Fiennes described CfD as proving a “gain to consumers” but “appealing to private sector investors”. Demand from the market had been “strong” and this should “provide a significant pipeline” for the future of the successful projects.293 But were market signals enabling people to make decisions? He mentioned the roll out of smart meters, and giving the domestic user price awareness of the electricity they consume, something the large-scale user was already “quite aware of”. It could lead to “gains with regard to carbon, security and cost effectiveness”.294

212. As to where the CM sat in terms of meeting the trilemma – energy security, social equity and environmental sustainability, Dan Monzani told the Committee—

… the capacity market is solely focused on the prime objective of meeting reliability standards and keeping the lights on, which does not mean that it is not compatible with our decarbonisation objectives. 295

213. He did, however, suggest progress was being made “increasingly” via mechanisms such as CfD, bringing forward onshore wind and nuclear to replace ageing thermal plants. He also pointed to “differential environmental costs” in the energy-only markets and spoke about “increasingly decarbonising the base load”.296

214. Referring to WWF Scotland’s work on a fully renewables-based future, Mr Fiennes suggested the demand side “becomes very important” in that context and there could be a “lot of co-operation”.297 On the matter of the UK Government ending onshore wind subsidies, he stated it was a manifesto commitment and the “direction of travel is quite clear.”298

Scottish Government position 

215. Fergus Ewing spoke about EMR in the context of renewable energy, suggesting there had been a “hiatus of certainty amid huge periods of uncertainty” while the reform was being formulated—

We thought that the uncertainty was over, but it has been reintroduced by the UK Government.299

216. If there was a decision to remove onshore wind subsidy (the evidence session took place before the UK Government’s decision was confirmed), the Minister said it should be “ameliorated by a grace period”.300

217. Of the CM, Dr Sweeney encouraged pursuit of a “regional correction factor” when the mechanism kicks in—

That would provide a route to thermal power.301

218. Asked whether there should be such a factor for pumped storage, Dr Sweeney agreed that there should.302 Mr Rhatigan also suggested the CM be reformed, in order that “long-term contracts” could be awarded to “underpin the building of such assets” as new pumped storage.303

Postscript 

219. DECC has subsequently consulted with the industry over a grace period for the removal of onshore windfarm subsidy, this “engagement period” having closed on 31 July 2015.304

Conclusions 

220. We heard a range of views on Electricity Market Reform – including that it was a good idea, a coherent argument, needs time to bed-in, was broken, and was of no benefit to the demand side.

221. The clearest and most compelling evidence on the market aspects of energy security came via the provisional findings of the Competition and Markets Authority. The Committee awaits with interest the authority’s final report and decision on its proposed remedies on the adverse economic consequences that it has identified in the contracts for difference auction process. In the meantime, we are concerned by what may transpire with the introduction of smart meters without an accompanying reform of the current settlement system. The CMA suggested that a “very big prize” to be gained from DSR in terms of potential savings for consumers could instead end up going to those energy suppliers that best understand the market. We seek further views on this from the CMA itself, Ofgem and National Grid.

222. The CMA also found from its investigation that customers engaging least with the energy market – in terms of awareness and behaviour e.g. switching supplier – and “leaving most money on the table” were generally the most vulnerable (people on low incomes, the poorly educated, people with disabilities etc.). The Committee will return to the connected matter of fuel poverty – mindful of the November 2016 deadline for the target of eradication – when we undertake our annual budgetary scrutiny. In the meantime, we seek views from both the Scottish and UK Governments on what can be done to address the flaws in a system which, as we were told by the CMA, expects those with least to pay the most.

223. The Committee was heartened by the Scottish Government’s suggestion of a joint governmental working group to explore the potential of storage technology and we encourage that spirit of co-operation between the two governments in other areas of energy policy. The commitment of National Grid to a more transparent relationship with the Scottish Parliament is also to be welcomed. We anticipate our successor committee hearing regularly from National Grid, Ofgem and the CMA at Holyrood during the next parliamentary session.

224. In that spirit of greater engagement and co-operation, we have extended an open invitation to the Secretary of State to come and talk to us about energy security – a “first order issue” for her, as a House of Lords committee recently prioritised it – and other matters germane to energy policy. When so much of the evidence underlines the importance of leadership, clear and accountable decision-making, and coherent long-term planning, we would very much welcome her input. We look forward to hearing directly from Ms Rudd on her government’s policies as they impact on security of supply in Scotland and other areas of shared interest.

Annexe A 

Extracts from the minutes of the Economy, Energy and Tourism

Committee and associated written and supplementary evidence

13th Meeting, 2015 (Session 4) Wednesday 20 May 2015

1. Decision on taking business in private: The Committee will decide whether to take item 5 in private. The Committee will also decide whether to review evidence heard at future meetings, in connection with the Security of Supply inquiry, in private.

3. Security of Supply - witness expenses: The Committee will be invited to delegate to the Convener responsibility for arranging for the SPCB to pay, under Rule 12.4.3, any expenses of witnesses in the inquiry.

4. Security of Supply: The Committee will take evidence, in round table format, from—

Professor Ian Arbon, Senior Partner of Engineered Solutions and spokesperson for Energy and Environment in Scotland, Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE);

Professor Keith Bell, Professor of Smart Grid Technologies and Co-Director of the UK Energy Research Centre, University of Strathclyde;

Professor Colin McInnes, James Watt Chair, Professor of Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Glasgow;

Brian Galloway, Energy Policy Director, Scottish Power;

Professor Gareth Harrison, University of Edinburgh and the Young Academy of Scotland;

Professor Colin McInnes, James Watt Chair, Professor of Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Glasgow;

Dr Edward Owens, School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Environment, Heriot-Watt University;

Michael Rieley, Senior Policy Manager, Grid and Markets, Scottish Renewables;

Lawrence Slade, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Energy UK;

Dr Alan Walker, Head of Policy, The Royal Academy of Engineering.

5. Security of Supply: The Committee will review the evidence heard earlier in the meeting.

Written Submissions 

Institution of Mechanical Engineers
University of Strathclyde, Keith Bell and Simon Grill
Scottish Power
Scottish Renewables
Energy UK

14th Meeting, 2015 (Session 4) Wednesday 27 May 2015

1. Security of Supply: The Committee will take evidence from—

Simon Skillings, Director and Senior Associate with E3G, Trilemma UK Ltd;

Professor Karen Turner, Director, Centre for Energy Policy, University of Strathclyde;

and then from—

Mark Crowther, General Manager and member of the UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, Kiwa;

Professor Stuart Haszeldine, Professor of Carbon Capture and Storage, University of Edinburgh;

Andrew Jones, Electricity Storage Network;

Professor Susan Roaf, Heriot Watt University;

Chris Toop, General Manager, Energy Programme, Scottish Water.

2. Review of evidence heard (in private): The Committee will review the evidence heard at today's meeting.

Written Submissions 

Electricity Storage Network
Scottish Water

15th Meeting, 2015 (Session 4) Wednesday 3 June 2015

1. Security of Supply: The Committee will take evidence from—

Dr Neal Wade, Senior Research Associate, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Newcastle University;

Gina Hanrahan, Climate and Energy Policy Officer, WWF Scotland;

Marco Giuli, Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre;

Malcolm Keay, Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies;

and then from—

Mike Calviou, Director, Transmission Network Service, National Grid;

David Gardner, Director of Transmission, Scottish and Southern Energy;

Eric Leavy, Head of Transmission Network Planning, Scottish Power Energy Networks;

Kersti Berge, Partner, Electricity Transmission and Head of Ofgem in Scotland, Ofgem.

4. Review of evidence heard (in private): The Committee will review the evidence heard earlier in the meeting.

Written Submissions 

WWF Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland and RSPB Scotland
National Grid
Scottish and Southern Energy
Ofgem

19th Meeting, 2015 (Session 4) Wednesday 2 September 2015

1. Security of Supply: The Committee will take evidence from—

Sheila Scobie, Head of Devolved Nations and CMA Representative in Scotland;

Simeon Thornton, Project Director, Energy Market Investigation;

Chris Prevett, Legal Director and;

Tony Curzon-Price, Senior economist, Energy market investigation, Competition and Markets Authority.

2. Review of evidence heard (in private): The Committee will review the evidence heard at today's meeting.

Annexe B

List of other written evidence

ABB
ABO Wind
Borders Network of Conservation Groups
Calor Gas
Centre for Energy Policy
Centrica
Cluff Natural Resources
Coal Pro
Competitions and Market Authority (306 KB pdf)
Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
Brodie, D. S.
Birkett, Derek G
East Lothian Council
East Lothian Council
EDF Energy
Energy Networks Association
Flexitricty
Grant, Jim
Heads of Planning Scotland
Professor Stuart Haszeldine and Dr Vivian Scott
IEISS
Industrial Communities Alliance (Scotland)
Institution of Civil Engineers Scotland
InterGen
John Muir Trust
Mackay Consultants
Metcalfe, V. C. K.
Mitsubishi Electric
Sir Donald Millar and Colin Gibson
Nordic Enterprise Trust
SP Energy Networks
Scottish Natural Heritage
Stirling, Derek
Quartermaine, R. A. E.
Unison Scotland
Vattenfall
VPI Immingham

Supplementary Written Evidence 

Competitions and Market Authority (86 KB pdf)
Ofgem
Ofgem 2
National Grid
Scottish Water - Supplementary


Any links to external websites in this report were working correctly at the time of publication.  However, the Scottish Parliament cannot accept responsibility for content on external websites.

Footnotes:

1 House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, UK Energy Supply: Security or Independence? 2011.

2 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 35.

3Word Energy Council website

4 KPMG, Assessing Scotland’s security of supply in the GB Electricity market, October 2014.

5 BBC news story, 18 August 2015.

6 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, call for written views, 27 March 2015.

7 CMA. Energy Market Investigation Provisional Findings Report, 7 July 2015.

8 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 21.

9 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 21.

10 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 31.

11 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 9.

12 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 9.

13 Flexitricity. Written submission.

14 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 2.

15 National Grid. Written submission.

16 Ofgem. Written submission.

17 Flexitricity. Written submission.

18 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 18.

19 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 8.

20 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 6.

21 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 8.

22 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 5.

23 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 5.

24 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Cols 5-6.

25 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 33

26 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 6.

27 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 8.

28 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 7.

29 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 8.

30 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 34.

31 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 7.

32 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 7.

33 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Cols 24-26.

34 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 24.

35 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 11

36 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 7.

37 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 19.

38 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 19.

39 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Cols 19-20.

40 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 21.

41 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 11.

42 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Cols 18-19.

43 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 26.

44 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Cols 6-7.

45 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 20.

46 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 29.

47 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 37.

48 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Cols 37-38.

49 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Cols 29-30.

50 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 38.

51 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 40.

52 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 40.

53 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 39.

54 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 40.

55 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 41.

56 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 41.

57 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 11 March 2015, Col 26.

58 National Grid. Written submission.

59 Ofgem. Written submission.

60 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 11 March 2015, Col 14.

61 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 11 March 2015, Col 15.

62 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 11 March 2015, Col 16.

63 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 8.

64 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Cols 9-10.

65 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Cols 10-11.

66 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 43.

67 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 43.

68 John Muir Trust. Written submission.

69 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 5.

70 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 7.

71 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 11 March 2015, Col 38.

72 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 15.

73 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 11 March 2015, Col 21.

74 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 23.

75 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Cols 24-26.

76 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 25.

77 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 28.

78 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 31.

79 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 2 September 2015, Cols 9-10.

80 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 2 September 2015, Col 12.

81 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 12.

82 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 34.

83 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 47.

84 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 34.

85 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 38.

86 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 40.

87 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 50.

88 1 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 7 June 2015, Col 47.

89 Ofgem. Email correspondence.

90 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 18.

91 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 19.

92 Flexitricity. Written submission.

93 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 23.

94 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 23.

95 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 23.

96 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 3.

97 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 4.

98 Centre for Energy Policy. Written submission.

99 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 10.

100 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Cols 29-30.

101 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 7.

102 Miller and Gibson. Written submission.

103 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 9.

104 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 17.

105 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 11.

106 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 5.

107 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 34.

108 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 8.

109 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 33.

110 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 46.

111 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 38.

112 Institute of Mechanical Engineers. Written submission.

113 Flexitricity. Written submission.

114 Flexitricity. Written submission.

115 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 2.

116 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 3.

117 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 4.

118 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 9.

119 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 24.

120 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 44.

121 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 4.

122 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 5.

123 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 8.

124 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Cols 7-8.

125 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 21.

126 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 18.

127 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 21.

128 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 22.

129 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 22.

130 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 57.

131 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 30.

132 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 36.

133 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 48.

134 Mackay Consultants. Written submission.

135 Royal Society of Edinburgh. Briefing Paper, April 2013.

136 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 9 and Col 19.

137 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 20.

138 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 20.

139 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 24.

140 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 32.

141 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 32.

142 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 51.

143 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 18.

144 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Cols 33-34.

145 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 36.

146 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 37.

147 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 20.

148 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 21.

149 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 23.

150 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 23.

151 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 24.

152 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 36.

153 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 36.

154 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 44.

155 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 47.

156 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 45.

157 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 46.

158 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 48.

159 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 13.

160 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 21.

161 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Cols 16-17.

162 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 17.

163 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 18.

164 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 21.

165 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 22.

166 Flexitricity. Written submission.

167 Flexitricity. Written submission.

168 Energy Networks Association. Written submission.

169 Flexitricity. Written submission.

170 Energy Networks Association. Written submission.

171 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 11.

172 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 35.

173 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 8.

174 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 9.

175 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 10.

176 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 11.

177 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 17.

178 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 24.

179 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 31.

180 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 22.

181 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 2 September 2015, Col 24.

182 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 2 September 2015, Col 4.

183 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 41.

184 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 39.

185 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 10.

186 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 14.

187 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 14.

188 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 15.

189 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 16.

190 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 17.

191 SPICe Financial Scrutiny Unit Briefing. Fuel Poverty in Scotland, March 2015.

192 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Cols 52-53.

193 Scottish Government. Letter to the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, 24 July 2015.

194 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 31.

195 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 30.

196 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 45.

197 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 45.

198 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Cols 45-46.

199 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 13.

200 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 22.

201 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 23

202 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 24.

203 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 34.

204 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 41.

205 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 12.

206 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 12.

207 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 14.

208 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 18.

209 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 44.

210 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 43.

211 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 44.

212 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 45.

213 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Cols 45-46.

214 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 46.

215 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 40.

216 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 40.

217 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 8.

218 House of Lords European Union Committee. No Country is an Energy Island: Securing Investment for the EU’s Future.

219 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 8.

220 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Cols 11-12.

221 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 14.

222 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 19.

223 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 5.

224 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 6.

225 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Cols 12-13.

226 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 12.

227 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 25.

228 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 32.

229 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 25.

230 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 35.

231 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 13.

232 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 6.

233 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 18.

234 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 5.

235 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Cols 5-6.

236 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 7.

237 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 7.

238 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 7.

239 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 7.

240 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Cols 33-34.

241 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 34.

242 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 3.

243 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 10.

244 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 3.

245 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 7.

246 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 3.

247 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 24.

248 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 24.

249 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 45.

250 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Cols 48-49.

251 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 8.

252 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 5.

253 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 12.

254 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 13.

255 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 14.

256 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 15.

257 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Cols 37-38.

258 House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee Inquiry: The Resilience of the Electricity System.

259 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 49.

260 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 49.

261 Miller and Gibson. Written submission.

262 Miller and Gibson. Written submission.

263 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 15.

264 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Cols 12-13.

265 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 13.

266 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Cols 27-28.

267 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 38.

268 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 44.

269 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 44.

270 DECC. 2010 to 2015 government policy: UK energy security.

271 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 2 September 2015, Col 2.

272 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 2 September 2015, Col 3.

273 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 9.

274 Intergen. Written submission.

275 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 20 May 2015, Col 22.

276 East Lothian Council. Written submission.

277 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 6.

278 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 27 May 2015, Col 17.

279 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Cols 10-11.

280 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 11.

281 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Col 15.

282 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 3 June 2015, Cols 15-16.

283 Flexitricity. Written submission.

284 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 2 September 2015, Cols 4-5.

285 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 2 September 2015, Col 16.

286 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 2 September 2015, Cols 15-16.

287 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 2 September 2015, Col 19.

288 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 2 September 2015, Cols 21-22.

289 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 2 September 2015, Col 22.

290 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 2 September 2015, Cols 22-23.

291 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 2 September 2015, Col 8.

292 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Cols 11-12.

293 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 6.

294 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 14.

295 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Cols 14-15.

296 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 15.

297 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 14.

298 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 8.

299 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 56.

300 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 32.

301 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 43.

302 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 46.

303 Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Official Report, 17 June 2015, Col 46.

304 DECC. Information on the proposed RO grace period for new onshore wind, 7 July 2015.

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