Scottish residents will vote in the independence referendum in less than a year, and The Telegraph reports that renewable energy company Infinis is stating that a ‘yes’ result would lead to severe damage to first minister Alex Salmond’s drive to push wind power by breaking up the UK energy market and turning away investors.
An independent Scotland would suffer first and foremost from the fact that any firms looking to invest in the renewables sector would not be able to access the subsidies currently offered to them from the UK government.
Scottish renewable policies would need to be developed
Independence would mean the Scottish government having to come up with its own policies for renewables investment, and the period of uncertainty this would create, and the potential void as they are drawn up, would potentially turn investors away from the nation.
Further uncertainty could also face the rest of the UK, however, with a proposed vote on EU membership likely to create problems for renewables investment.
Scottish customers could face rising bills
Another issue that could plague the market in Scotland, Infinis warned, is Scottish customers facing rising bills.
The disproportionately high number of turbines built in the nation compared to other areas of the UK would need to be subsidised in some way, and this would likely result in a rise in the subsidies the independent government would need to pay, all of which would likely be added to bills.
This comes at a time when Energy Secretary Ed Davey has also warned that Scotland could face increased competition for its energy output, with no guarantee that Westminster would continue to buy Scottish-generated energy.
He said there would be no obligation to buy from Scotland, and that it would face competition from other wind-heavy markets such as Ireland.
Wind energy to continue as focus in Scotland
Despite warnings that independence could lead to problems in the wind energy market, Scottish ministers have continued to insist the focus remains on increasing capacity north of the border.
The country’s Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said that without use of windfarms, Scottish customers will face bills £166 higher within a decade.
In addition to this, the Scottish government has said it will continue to grant planning permission for the windfarms despite a court ruling stating that said any firm applying must have a licence to generate electricity from the industry regulator.
SNP ministers said in a letter to John Campbell QC that the “balance of public and national interest is in favour of continuing with the current approach”.