Scottish winners and losers in grid contracts

One is £15 million richer, the other faces closure. Yesterday’s award of National Grid voltage control contracts have left two Scottish power plants with very different futures. Peterhead gas powered […]

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By Sumit Bose

One is £15 million richer, the other faces closure.

Yesterday’s award of National Grid voltage control contracts have left two Scottish power plants with very different futures.

Peterhead gas powered station run by SSE won the contract to provide voltage support services between April 2016 and September 2017. However ScottishPower’s coal fired Longannet power plant will now close.

Voltage control is the method by which National Grid uses equipment such as power stations, overhead lines, underground cables and other equipment to keep the GB system within statutory limits.

The contract award means Longannet’s 270 workers now face a difficult future. Talks are already underway between the Scottish Government, ScottishPower and Fife council to find a resolution.

ScottishPower’s retail and generation chef executive Neil Clitheroe said: “We are extremely disappointed with National Grid’s decision as ScottishPower submitted a competitive bid that reflected our commitment to protecting the immediate future of Longannet Power Station.

“As we have said previously, the decision by National Grid means that, in all likelihood, we will be forced to announce the closure of Longannet by March 2016.

“Everyone will appreciate that it is a concerning time for all our people and we will do everything in our power to manage the outcome of this process as best we can.”

National Grid said Peterhead was selected because its proposal was determined to be “the most beneficial across a number of factors. These include the ability to provide system stability and resilience and value for money for GB consumers.”

Jim Smith, Managing Director of Energy Portfolio Management for SSE said: “SSE has continually invested in the site since it opened in 1980 and we’re pleased Peterhead will continue to play an important role in ensuring National Grid can provide system stability and resilience going forward.”

Scottish Energy Minsiter Fergus Ewing had mixed emotions: “Of course I welcome the news that Peterhead power station has secured a contract from National Grid, given its huge strategic importance to Scotland.

“However the news that Longannet is now likely to close prematurely is very concerning for the Scottish Government….my thoughts are with the hundreds of direct employees at Longannet power station and the many more who are dependent on the plant.”