Scotland business

MSPs to hold energy supply inquiry

Longannet Power Station
Image caption Longannet operator Scottish Power has said the power station is likely to close within the next year

A Holyrood committee is to hold an inquiry into the security of Scotland's energy supply in the wake of news that Longannet power station in Fife is likely to close prematurely.

MSPs on the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee will take evidence on the UK electricity market.

It will focus on supply, demand and the transmission network.

It follows the announcement by Scottish Power that the coal-fired plant will "in all likelihood" shut by March 2016.

The move came after the company lost out on a short-term National Grid contract.

The power firm said the station has been under pressure from higher transmission charges to connect to the grid due to its location.

Concerns have been raised about the future of Scotland's energy supply in the event of the power station's closure.

The committee has issued a call for evidence and will begin hearing from witnesses in May.

'Urgent focus'

Convener Murdo Fraser MSP said: "The security of Scotland's energy supply has been brought into urgent focus due to the recent developments at Longannet.

"It is imperative that this inquiry starts a debate in Scotland about how we can secure Scotland's energy supply and looks at the implications of the likely early closure of Longannet.

"There are a number of wider issues at play here, from the move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, significant reform to the UK electricity market as well as the capability of the UK transmission network to meet demand."

The committee is seeking views on whether there is enough generation in the system to meet demand until the end of the decade, and how peak demand might change over that timeframe.

The impact of a move from fossil fuels to renewables to meet the Scottish Government's target of a largely decarbonised electricity system by 2030 will be a key part of the inquiry.

MSPs will also look at the role of new projects and future investment in the transmission network and how these might affect security of supply, as well as examining recent significant changes to the electricity market.

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