Davey makes renewables case for Scotland

Energy secretary Ed Davey
Energy secretary Ed Davey
Energy secretary Ed Davey will call on Scotland to remain in the UK at the All Energy Conference in Aberdeen, later today.

He will tell delegates that Scotland should not opt for independence if it is to retain high levels of investment in renewable energy generation.

He will defend his argument by pointing to £29bn worth of investment made in Scottish renewable energy projects since 2010 and the 30,000 jobs it has supported.

He will add that further investment on this scale would be harder to leverage for an independent Scottish government due to the small size of the consumer energy market north of the border. Scotland currently benefits from investment spread across the much larger UK-wide population and being part of domestic market of more than 23 million households.

Mr Davey will say to the All Energy Conference: “The UK offers a uniquely attractive, stable, transparent and supportive environment for investment in low carbon generation.

“Between now and 2020, the support we give to low carbon electricity will increase year-on-year to £7.6 billion – a tripling of the support for renewable energy. Under the current Renewables Obligation system some 37 per cent of the support – around £530m annually – goes to Scottish renewables projects. But only 9 per cent of UK electricity sales are here in Scotland.

“So 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 10th the size of the UK? 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.

“We cannot assume that English, Welsh and Northern Irish consumers would still be willing to subsidise Scottish renewables. But it will be much harder for a nation potentially having to spread the costs of investment in renewables across just two and a half million households to keep prices competitive.

“I believe Scottish renewables have flourished precisely because Scotland is part of the United Kingdom. Our collective energy system has underpinned the success seen to date.”