Remarks by energy experts highlighting the reliance of the rest of the UK on Scottish energy have underlined why it will be in the interests of the rest of the UK to continue to work closely with an independent Scotland on energy matters.
Speaking on Newsnight Scotland (on Wednesday) David Hunter of Schneider Electric stressed the importance of Scotland’s energy to the rest of the UK, stating:
“In the short to medium term it’s highly likely that the rest of the UK would need Scottish electricity. We export more, we have an excess and we don’t need to use it all within Scotland. So we export south of the border and that also helps the UK meet its green carbon reduction targets.”
Meanwhile, writing on the BBC website, Professor Euan Phimister of the University of Aberdeen also backed this position, stating:
“Fergus Ewing’s point about the low margins of capacity over demand over the next few years is correct and it is likely that rUK electricity demand for Scottish electricity overall will remain significant.”
The experts’ views acknowledge the ever tightening gap between electricity supply and electricity demand south of the border, as highlighted by regulator Ofgem and National Grid.
The latest backing for the Scottish Government’s position comes further to a report published in December last year by academics from Aberdeen University, Robert Gordons University, Queens University Belfast and Cardiff University. The DREUD report highlighted that independence, and achieving Scotland’s renewable energy targets, will not mean Scottish consumers paying more than within the Union, pointing out that the opposite could in fact be true.
Commenting, SNP MSP Mike MacKenzie said:
“These expert interventions are significant ones and once again underline that the rest of the UK needs Scotland’s energy to keep the lights on. That simple fact shows the recent scare stories being peddled about energy in an independent Scotland to be utterly hollow. There is no doubt that an independent Scotland will continue to work closely with the rest of the UK to reduce carbon emissions and provide a secure energy supply.
“As the DREUD report made clear late last year, it is in fact the Westminster Government’s obsession with hideously expensive nuclear energy that is the real threat to consumer bills.
“The SNP has also pledged to move energy efficiency measures into general taxation, lowering energy bills in an independent Scotland by £70 a year.
“A Yes vote next year is a vote for lower energy bills, instead of the costly and damaging approach taken by Westminster that is driving far too many people into fuel poverty.”