The impact of potential Scottish independence on energy and climate change

The deadline for the submission of written evidence for this inquiry was 9 March 2012.

  • Written evidence
  • Transcript from Tuesday 17 April 2012 Professor Jo Armstrong, University of Glasgow, and Professor Alex Kemp, University of Aberdeen; Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Scottish Government, and David Wilson, Director of Energy and Climate Change, Scotland, gave evidence.
  • Transcript from Tuesday 24 April 2012 Duncan Burt, Customer Services Manager, National Grid, Dr David Clarke, Chief Executive Officer, Energy Technologies Institute, Dr Brian Tilley, Strategy and Stakeholder Coordination Manager, E.ON Climate and Renewables, Peter Atherton, Head of European Utility Sector Research, Citigroup Global Markets, and Robert Yates, Director, AF-Mercados EMI gave evidence.

Recent high-level discussions between the Prime Minister and the Scottish First Minister about the timing and nature of Scotland’s promised independence referendum, and the First Minister’s announcement of his ambition to create a sovereign wealth fund from oil  and gas revenues in an independent Scotland, have pushed the implications of potential Scottish independence up the Committee’s agenda.

Under the Scotland Act 1988 energy policy decisions were reserved for the UK Parliament, although the Scottish Government still has influence through devolved powers on planning permission. Climate Change policy is, in general, devolved to the Scottish Government, but policies to tackle this global issue cover a wide range of sectors and span both reserved and devolved matters.

Scotland’s wind and wave resources mean that it will have a crucial role in the expansion of the renewable energy sector, whether or not it remains part of the UK. Furthermore Scotland’s electricity transmission system is an integral part of the UK’s energy infrastructure. Scottish independence would inevitably have implications for energy and climate change. There may also be implications arising from uncertainty in the period of time leading up to the planned referendum in 2014.

Terms of reference

The Committee invites responses addressing the impact of potential Scottish independence on: 

  • The UK’s energy security and the operation of cross-border energy markets.
  • The UK’s ability to meet climate change objectives including; the target for 15% of UK energy to come from renewable sources by 2020, and implications for the UK’s carbon budgets and the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan.
  • Investment in renewable energy generation including implications for current subsidy mechanisms such as Feed in Tariff and the proposed Contract for Difference scheme and implications for investor confidence and capital investment.
  • Energy prices north and south of the border.
  • Revenues from Scottish energy production and the workability of creating a sovereign wealth fund in the Scottish context.


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