Impact of potential Scottish independence on energy and climate change

27 February 2012

The Energy and Climate Change Committee, chaired by Tim Yeo MP, is today launching an inquiry to investigate the impact of potential Scottish independence on energy and climate change.

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
    • 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.

The deadline for the submission of written evidence is 9 March 2012.

Notes on submission of written evidence

Written evidence should be in Word or rich text format-please do not use PDF format-and sent by e-mail to The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from. Hard copy submissions should be sent to: The Clerk, Energy and Climate Change Committee, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA. The deadline is 9 March 2012. As a guideline submissions should be no longer than 3000 words. However, please contact the Committee staff if you wish to discuss this matter.
Submissions should be in the format of a self-contained memorandum. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document should, if possible, include an executive summary.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or by making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

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