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8 May 2013

Independence an Opportunity to Lower Energy Bills

NEW PAPER OUTLINES OPTIONS OPEN TO INDEPENDENT SCOTLAND

A new paper on the implications of independence for energy consumers has today demonstrated the opportunity that an independent Scottish Government would have to lower consumer energy bills.

The paper published for the David Hume Institute outlines the opportunity that an independent Scotland would have to use money generated from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to fund energy efficiency measures.

As the paper’s authors make clear, “recycling the EU Emissions Trading Scheme levy towards energy efficiency would provide significant resource to deliver energy efficiency programmes. Adopting this approach would allow government to direct such programmes much more clearly, while at the same time using a funding stream which would allow [Energy Company Obligation] to be reduced or eliminated, so reducing bills.”

Meanwhile the document also confirms that the rest of the UK would still need low-carbon electricity purchased from Scotland after independence, stating that “the ‘rest of the UK’ would still be required to meet EU climate change targets which would, in turn, require electricity from low carbon sources to be purchased from other countries should Scotland become independent.”

The paper also warns of the costs attached to Westminster’s determination to pursue a new generation of nuclear energy, making clear that “a high level of subsidy – comparable to that currently required for offshore wind power - will be needed to enable nuclear generation to meet its costs, and the UK Government’s intention is that this subsidy will come from an additional levy on consumers’ bills.”

Commenting, Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“This paper is an important contribution to the debate and clearly sets out the substantial opportunities that an independent Scotland would have for a new approach on energy.

“By taking the steps that Westminster will not, we would have the opportunity to reduce consumer energy bills while supporting energy efficiency measures.

“The coming referendum is all about the opportunities that having the powers to make our own choices will give us and this paper provides clear examples of the kind of steps an independent Scotland could take to help hard-pressed energy consumers.

“Scotland has the opportunity to be a renewable power-house of Europe, creating jobs and massively boosting Scotland’s economy.

“It is only with a Yes vote in September 2014 that the chance to take full advantage of these energy opportunities will come into the hands of people in Scotland.”

A copy of the David Hume Institute paper is available at http://www.davidhumeinstitute.com/

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