Is Scotland's renewable energy really needed to "keep the lights on" in the UK?

Recently there's been some debate over Scotland leaving the UK and how this may affect the energy infrastructure as a whole. Some have argued that the UK will do just fine without Scotland, shopping around for the best deal, whereas other have argued that the UK's energy infrastructure will experience severe difficulties without their help. Currently the UK subsidise Scotland's renewable energy projects - will this continue if a YES vote is reached for independence?

 

In a recent article we reported that UK Energy Secretary, Ed Davey had snuffed the SNP's comments about the UK needing to carry on subsidising Scotlands renewable energy projects too meet its targets and "keep the lights on", and indictated that the UK would be free to shop around for the "best deal", treating Scotland as just another country to strike deals with. If the UK stopped subsidising Scotland our sought to make new deals as Davey indicated, this would inevitably mean higher bills for Scottish households. 

 

This was earlier in the week.  Today, Fergus Ewing, the energy minister for for Scotland, fired back at Ed Davey by saying that "England does require Scotland's energy to keep the lights on".  He referred to capacity margins in the infrastructure, which in the south of England are dangrously tight - compared to Scotland who have 20% to play with.  Indeed, it would seem that Ewing, a member of the SNP, has a point, and this is something that has been highlighted and warned about by regulators Ofgem for some time. 

 

windfarm

 

In Davey's words, the sheer size and population density of the UK protects Scottish households from paying over the odds for the energy usage, and breaking away from the  UK would leave them unprotected and likely to pay more. Currently, Scotland have ambitious targets to make sure that 100% of their electricity is generated from renewable energy sources by 2020 - but without the UK as a potential backer or the subsidy deal they currently have in place, critics of the YES campaign are skeptical. Scotland are the 'windiest country in Europe' and can certainly benefit from wind farming, but at the moment the technology require a lot of finanical backing, something which Scotland may struggle to carry on their own.  Meanwhile, the UK have some of the largest off-shore windfarms already in operation. 

 

Are these just cheap shots from both sides? Some would argue that this is the case, but nevertheless there is an important debate to be had here  - and we're just scratchin the surface of some of the implications the Scottish independence would have on our energy infrastructure and our standing in the EU. 

 

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