Ed Davey tells Scots “We’re greener together”

Speaking to a packed house at All Energy in Aberdeen this afternoon the Energy Secretary made the case for Scotland to guarantee it’s green future by staying within the UK. […]

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By Sumit Bose

Speaking to a packed house at All Energy in Aberdeen this afternoon the Energy Secretary made the case for Scotland to guarantee it’s green future by staying within the UK.

Heaping praise on the energy sector north of the border he said: “Since becoming Energy Secretary this is my ninth trip to Scotland to date and my fifth trip to the granite city itself. During that time I’ve seen things really picking up in the green revolution. There is more business being done and investment going in, to make Aberdeen the powerhouse of the new green energy industries.

“Our analysis shows four in five people support what we are doing to develop low carbon home grown forms of energy and I think that huge public support is not just because renewables are good for the planet but they are seeing it can make our economy more sustainable. In these difficult times there is a real prospect of green growth.”

But that growth would be threatened if Scotland voted for independence warned Mr Davey: “Renewables are one of Scotland’s key growth sectors. With over £13bn of new investment announced since 2010 in Scotland alone, supporting over 9000 jobs it’s a fantastic success story.

“But there is a debate about whether Scotland could go it alone and of course it could. But you cannot ignore the wider role the rest of the UK plays in supporting Scottish renewables. Under the current Renewables Obligation system some 37% of the support – around £530m annually – goes to Scottish renewables projects. But only 9% of UK electricity sales are here in Scotland.

“So would an independent Scotland be able to deliver the same support to renewables on the back of a domestic electricity market that is only one 10th the size of the UK? We cannot assume that English, Welsh and Northern Irish consumers would still be willing to subsidise Scottish renewables.”

Later Mr Davey told ELN that he was confident the long awaited EMR would come to fruition by the end of the year and that private sector investors should get ready to get going. “I’m very excited about the prospects and it’s a green light for investment.”

On the day he announced record levels of renewable investment Mr Davey added the Government was on track with the EMR draft strike price set to be published in July and the final Energy Bill turning into law by the turn of the year.