IT is one of the biggest controversies of the energy crisis that electricity generators in Scotland pay significantly more in transmission fees than elsewhere in the UK.

We've pulled together a quick explainer on what these charges are and why they are so steep north of the Border.

What are transmission fees?

Transmission fees are payments paid to the National Grid by electricity generators in order to use the large and expensive system of cables, pylons and transformers that transport electricity from generators to consumers – known as the transmission network.

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The payments help to fund building and maintaining the network. The charges are set by Ofgem.

What does Scotland pay?

Scottish generators pay the highest rates to connect to the grid in Europe despite the country having the greatest potential for renewable energy. Parties like the SNP insist this is holding back investment in renewables.

It emerged in 2022 that energy generators in Scotland would be forced to pay £465 million in transmission charges by 2026 while those in England and Wales will get a £30m subsidy.

Figures provided from the House of Commons library in 2021 showed that the electricity network in Scotland accounts for almost 52% of the total network in Great Britain with 9300 kilometres in Scotland and 8700km in England and Wales.

However, for an energy company to connect to the grid, it costs £7.36 per megawatt-hour (MWh) in the north of Scotland and £4.70 per MWh in the south of Scotland transmission area.

The same action in England and Wales costs £0.49, and in southern England generators are actually paid to connect to the grid.

Why does Scotland pay more?

Charges are currently based on the distance between where the electricity is produced and where it is used.

The fee rises when less energy is consumed close to generation, meaning that renewable projects like onshore and offshore windfarms in Scotland built miles from any residents have to pay more to connect their energy to the grid. The charges were designed to encourage generators to build close to consumers.

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The SNP last year accused the UK Tory government of conducting a "Great Scottish Renewables Robbery" as it emerged renewable energy firms would be forced to pay massive fees.

The methodology for the charges was devised for England and Wales in 1992 following the privatisation of the National Grid and extended to Scotland in 2005.

Can we do anything about it?

Sadly, not while we're in the Union. Energy is a reserved matter meaning that the Scottish Government has no power to make any changes and must rely on decisions made by the UK Government.

Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee called for an urgent review of the electricity grid last year, saying issues around transmission charges in Scotland need to be addressed.