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Energy (Independence)

Volume 583: debated on Wednesday 2 July 2014

5. What assessment he has made of the potential effect of Scottish independence on energy flows between Scotland and the rest of the UK. (904532)

Scotland has a thriving energy sector which benefits from unrestricted access to the integrated Great Britain energy market. That supports jobs, keeps bills lower and spreads the substantial costs over 30 million households and businesses.

The Scottish Government have now decided to generate 100% of electricity from renewables by 2020. The implied subsidy for that is £4 billion a year, or £1,000 per voter a year. Has the Secretary of State had any discussions with the Scottish Government about who would pay for that in the event of independence?

What I can tell my hon. Friend is that at the moment the cost of the subsidy required for the development of renewables is spread across the whole United Kingdom market. In an independent Scotland, that cost would have to be met by households in Scotland, which would mean a difference of between £38 and £189 in Scottish energy bills. We do exceptionally well from the subsidies that come to Scotland as part of the United Kingdom.

Does the Secretary of State think there would be a market in the rest of the UK for expensive renewable energy from an independent Scotland, or is a single regulated energy market best for Scotland and best for the UK?

The benefits and opportunities that come to generators of renewable energy in Scotland from being part of that single integrated market speak for themselves. The fact that we are being asked to leave that should be of concern to them.