Scotland 'would join UK RE queue'

UK energy secretary Ed Davey today warned that an independent Scotland would become just one of a list of options where the remainder of the UK could buy its clean power – and would face higher costs for subsidising its own renewable energy ambitions.

Davey told the Scottish Renewables conference in Edinburgh that claims by Scotland’s pro-independence government that the remaining UK nations would have no choice but to rely on it for renewable power are wrong.

Davey said: “There can be no guarantees about how much or at what price the UK will trade energy with an independent Scotland, because there are no guarantees about how much electricity from an independent Scotland will actually cost.”

He added: “The UK would consider rationally which sources provide the cheapest and most reliable options for our people.

“Scotland will go onto a list of all the places in the open market the UK can buy power from – wind from Ireland, geothermal from Iceland, hydro from Norway.”

Scotland votes on whether to leave the rest of the UK in September. Davey's speech represents one of the highest-profile attempts yet to engage renewables as an issue in favour of rejecting a breakaway.

The energy secretary said a ‘yes' vote would leave the independent country facing the full costs of upgrading transmission, subsidising remote communities and supporting its renewables build-out.

“It will be much harder for a nation having to spread these costs of across the small Scottish base to keep green energy prices competitive,” Davey claimed.

By contrast Davey said by remaining inside the UK, Scotland would continue to benefit from "sharing costs and subsidies...over all 33 million households, not just Scotland’s three million”.