Energy secretary Ed Davey has made a case for the UK’s single energy market, arguing that Sindependence would increase energy bills.
Speaking to a conference of energy industry stakeholders in Edinburgh, Mr Davey argued that because the single UK energy market is 10 times the size of Scotland’s energy market, Scottish energy bills are lower.
He cited the way investment in transmission and distribution networks are currently shared across the whole of the UK, and how subsidies for energy distribution in remote rural areas like the Scottish Highlands are currently paid for by all British consumers, not just Scottish billpayers.
The UK government’s analysis claims energy bills in an independent Scotland would be higher by at least £38 a year and perhaps by up to £189, once the full cost of supporting renewables is included.
In addition, if the full costs of supporting large-scale Scottish renewables fell to Scottish billpayers, the total potential increase would rise considerably for businesses as well to around £110,000 for energy costs for a medium-sized manufacturer in 2020 and £608,000 for a medium-sized manufacturer in 2020, the government claims.
Mr Davey said: “The UK works better together, and our single energy market shows why. As a united kingdom, we keep energy bills down for all consumers, regardless of where they live, and this works well, especially for people in Scotland.
“Without unrestricted access to the integrated GB market, the costs of supporting Scottish energy network investment, small-scale renewables and programmes to support remote consumers would fall on Scottish billpayers alone – this would add at least £38 to annual household energy bills and around £110,000 to energy costs for a medium-sized manufacturer in 2020.
“In addition, if the full costs of supporting large-scale Scottish renewables fell to Scottish billpayers, the total potential increase would rise considerably up to £189 for households and £608,000 for a medium-sized manufacturer in 2020.
“Right across the energy mix, Scotland benefits from being part of the UK’s strong, stable consumer and tax base – supporting thousands of jobs, creating new supply chains and cementing the energy sector as the engine room of the economy.”
Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael said: “This paper shows how the broad shoulders of the UK benefit Scotland – and how the rest of the UK benefits from Scotland being part of it.
“Sharing the cost of research and infrastructure keeps fuel bills down in every part of Scotland, from the big cities to the most remote communities.
“Scottish ingenuity and innovation helps the UK lead the way in developing a new energy mix for the future.”