Scottish Independence and Renewable Energy

On 18 September 2014, Scottish people will vote on whether or not they want independence from Westminster. In preparation for this, the Scottish National Party (SNP) released its white paper in Glasgow on November this year.  One of the most significant points discussed in the white paper is about the challenges Scotland will face if it becomes independent from UK including cutting it’s reliance on carbon. The report titled ‘Scotland’s Future: Your guide to an independent Scotland’ stated that although Scotland needs a mixed energy portfolio, it has a target of delivering the equivalent of 100% electricity demand and 11% non-electrical heat demand from renewables by 2020.  The report added that Scotland’s targets for decarburization would remain in place if the country becomes independent.

Alex Salmond, the SNP leader and Scottish first minister launched the white paper recently. Speaking on the matter, he stated that it was one of the most comprehensive blueprints for an independent country ever published.

Independence would give Scotland the “full range of power to develop renewable energy,” states SNP who had discussed the importance of clean energy at the party’s conference early this year. SNP energy minister Fergus Ewing praised the country’s renewable industry pointing out that it provided jobs, low energy prices and benefitted the community.

The Scottish government also plans to establish an “energy partnership” with Westminster so that Scotland’s long-term interests are better served.

The white paper mentioned that Scotland’s new energy policy would focus on enhancing security of supply, promoting decarburization and climate change ambitions and expanding a thriving energy sector. There are also plans to establish a new National Regulatory Authority for Energy, operating in co-operation with the electricity and gas market regulator in the rest of the UK.