6. Energy

What about the energy sector?

Scotland has historically been self-sufficient in terms of oil & gas and also electricity generation. Historically, Scotland has met demand across the UK but since devolution, energy policies have diverged. The SNP proposes that Scottish nuclear reactors will not be replaced[i] (although the operating life of existing units has been extended)[ii] whereas Westminster is committed to a new generation of reactors for England, the first already announced at Hinkley Point.[iii]

Upon independence, the rUK would be Scotland’s only direct export market (other than limited exports to Ireland). Gas from the Scottish sector could, however, be under-cut should English onshore shale gas reserves prove viable.[iv] The Scottish Government has identified significant offshore renewables potential[v] but heavy subsidies could be necessary to bring this to fruition. Unless the Scottish Government’s aim of a continental power link can be realised,[vi] exported power would have to compete in the rUK market only. (As an analogue, the Canadian province of Newfoundland & Labrador committed itself to a long-term export deal at very low tariffs as Quebec, its only bordering province, was able to dictate favourable terms).[vii] The proposed Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) development at the BP Miller failed to attract sufficient government subsidy[viii] although the Shell Goldeneye CCS development (using Peterhead power station) could still proceed.[ix]

 

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