The current seamless single markets in electricity and gas covering the whole of Great Britain could and should remain in place in the event of independence, according to Robert Armour, Chair of the Commission on Energy Regulation.
Combined regulation of single markets operates in other parts of the EU and could work here is one conclusion of the Commission on Energy Regulation, made up of independent experts drawn from across the UK.
The Commission was asked to look at the arrangements for Regulation of Energy Markets in the event of an Independent Scotland and how a strategic partnership with the rest of GB could be made to work. It was also asked to look at fuel poverty, energy efficiency and the encouragement of renewable investment.
“Maintaining confidence in the regulatory system is important to investors financing long-term assets, and consumers facing rising bills for essential services. The system needs to be properly resourced, robust and enduring and should deliver just and affordable outcomes.
“In the event of independence there are undoubtedly issues that will have to be settled between the two administrations. We share a common integrated system and have a common interest in energy security. When those issues are settled all parties need to be confident in the robustness of the arrangements agreed.
“Looking to Europe and beyond we found working models of cross-border partnerships delivering jointly-regulated integrated markets that show single markets can work with goodwill and cooperation.
“Our energy system is changing radically. We are moving to a more decentralised system with the potential for greater innovation, consumer engagement, better demand management, and more targeted solutions.
“Eradicating fuel poverty has proved an intractable challenge. We believe a more radical approach to tackling fuel poverty is now needed. We see an opportunity to improve cost effectiveness and better target delivery to disadvantaged and vulnerable consumers through accessing data already held on social need.
“In future we will be able to take this approach further using the improved data that will come from the roll out of smart meters.
“The clear policy commitment has played a major part in attracting investment in renewables to Scotland. Scotland’s natural potential makes it a cost-efficient place to develop renewable resources. We see a benefit to both Scotland and the rest of the UK in enabling this economically efficient development of renewable potential to continue.
“Energy is likely to continue to play a crucially important role in the Scottish economy. The structure and resourcing of the Regulator needs to reflect its important role underpinning sustainable economic growth and the safeguarding of consumers.”
The full report can be viewed here.
The First Minister will today (Thursday 10th July) visit Pipelines 2 Data in Aberdeen where he will officially respond to the Independent Expert Energy Commission report.
Pictured is Robert Amour, OBE, Chair of the Commission on Energy Regulation