National Grid Electricity Transmission and Scottish Power Transmission have agreed to pay £158m in redress for a two-year delay to a major subsea power cable project.
Energy regulator Ofgem stated an investigation found that they were ultimately responsible for lengthy delays to the Western Link project.
This made it difficult at times for renewable energy generators in Scotland to export clean electricity to England and Wales.
Ofgem said that £15m of the fine will be paid into its redress fund, which allows companies to pay a sum of money to charities, trusts, organisations or consumers as a result of breaches of licence conditions.
The remainder will go towards reducing system charges, which is set to benefit consumers as they are paid for as part of their overall electricity bill.
The £1.2bn, UK Government-commissioned Western Link project provides a 262-mile long link between Scotland and Wales – of which 239 miles is under the sea – with capacity for 2,250 megawatts of power.
Electrical links such as this are seen as being key to helping the UK reach its net zero emissions targets.
The regulator said that delays to the project were found to be down to supply chain issues with the manufacturing processes, installing the cables and commissioning tests.
Ofgem’s director of enforcement and emerging issues Cathryn Scott said: “To deliver the UK’s climate change ambitions, more of our electricity will come from renewable generation – this is already happening, with offshore wind and other projects in development.
“Innovative projects such as the Western Link are vital in moving clean energy from where it’s produced to where it’s needed.
“However, they must be delivered on time and to the standards agreed,” she continued, adding: “Where they are not, as the energy regulator, we will hold the licensees accountable.”
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