The Government has today published the 12th paper in the Scotland Analysis Programme series to inform the debate on Scotland’s future within the United Kingdom.
“Scotland Analysis: Energy” (Cm 8826) examines the benefits of the current single energy market across Great Britain (GB) for managing energy policy and examines the potential implications of independence.
The paper concludes that the current single market has underpinned the success of the Scottish energy industry, has helped to keep Scottish energy bills down and is the most effective way of managing energy liabilities, but were Scotland to become a separate independent state, the current integrated GB energy system could not continue as it is now.
Scottish consumers and businesses currently benefit from spreading the cost of supporting Scottish energy network investment, renewables and programmes to support remote consumers over 30 million households and businesses as part of the GB energy market. In the event of independence, Scotland’s 3 million households and businesses would have to meet these costs alone. Scottish consumers would end up paying more, possibly considerably more, for energy infrastructure in an independent Scottish state than they do as part of the UK.
The paper also sets out that only a small proportion of electricity demand in England and Wales (4.59 per cent) is provided by Scotland. In the event of independence, England and Wales would not be reliant on Scotland to keep the lights on nor would the UK be reliant on Scotland to meet its renewables targets.
Future papers from the Scotland analysis programme will be published over the course of 2014 to ensure that people in Scotland have access to the facts and information ahead of the referendum.