Energy analysts claim that an independent Scotland would be saddled with a £600m bill to keep thousands of wind turbines turning because Westminster would not be prepared to send “international aid” to subsidise wind farms north of the border. Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, has said a second referendum is “highly likely” in a bid to retain Scotland’s membership of the EU after Brexit. A consequence of separation, however, could be that an independent Scotland has to fully support its renewables industry, which at present is propped up with huge subsidies paid for via the bills of British energy consumers. In 2015, the latest year for which figures are available, about £600m worth of subsidies were paid to Scottish wind farms. John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, a charity set up by Noel Edmonds, the television presenter, to promo te sustainable energy technologies, said such cross-border subsidies from English and Welsh consumers to the owners of wind farms in Scotland “would not be politically acceptable in Westminster or Cardiff’ if Scotland becomes independent. It would in effect, he said, “be international aid to a developed country and extremely controversial”. Constable, added: “It is quite conceivable that this subsidy burden, currently shared by all UK consumers, would fall entirely on Scottish consumers in the event of independence.” Similar warnings were issued by Ed Davey, the former UK energy minister, in 2014 when the last independence referendum was held. He claimed average annual energy bills could increase by up to £189 in Scotland. Davey’s claims were rubbished by the SNP who insisted that both countries would wish to operate a shared all-Britain energy market.
Sunday Times 29th Jan 2017 read more »