Scottish independence to harm renewables industry?

May 28, 2013

Ed Davey has warned that Scottish independence could harm progress in the renewables industry. 

The climate change secretary said that the current high levels of renewable investment in the UK could be impacted upon if Scotland was to gain independence. 

New figures published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have revealed that more than £29 billion of investment has been given to the UK renewable energy market since 2010. 

Scotland accounted for £13.1 billion of the total £29 billion investment in the UK renewable energy market since 2010, with much of the funding for measures such as wind turbines and solar panels coming from the nation. 

Despite this, Mr Davey has questioned whether Scotland will be able to support its current renewables market on its own.

At the moment, Scotland accounts for approximately 37 per cent of the support offered by the Renewable Obligation scheme, accounting for around £530 million annually. However, only nine per cent of electricity sales in the UK take place in Scotland. 

“Would an independent Scotland be able to deliver the same support to renewables on the back of a domestic electricity market that is only one tenth the size of the UK?” asked the minister, speaking at the All Energy Conference in Aberdeen. 

“At present Scottish renewables benefit from the ability to spread investment costs across the whole of the UK consumer base,” he said.

“As part of the British energy market, Scotland and its energy industry, as net exporters of energy, have access to a market of more than 23 million households and the integrated energy networks that deliver them.”

The new investment figures published by DECC also found that the renewable energy market in the UK could potentially support 30,000 jobs. Some 30 per cent of these would be Scottish jobs. 

Mr Davey added that he believes Scottish renewables have flourished because Scotland is a part of the UK. 
 
“Our collective energy system has underpinned the success seen to date,” he said. 

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