Alex Salmond

As Scotland votes to remain part of the United Kingdom, investor confidence returns in the renewables sector

An onshore wind farm in Scotland. Photo credit: Scottish Government via Flickr.
By Anders Lorenzen

Last month the people of Scotland voted to remain part of the UK, as a close fought election ended with a victory of ten points to the ‘No’ campaign, defeating the ‘Yes’ campaign 55-45.

This has been received positively by some renewable energy analysts. It has been argued by industry analysts such as Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) that an independent Scotland would threaten investments in the renewable energy industry. The argument was that independence would bring uncertainty for renewable energy policies such as subsidies for onshore and offshore wind power.

But the No victory has restored investor confidence in the industry, says Bloomberg, who only hours after that the No vote had been confirmed, wrote that doubt had been removed for £14 billion worth of investments in renewables.

Almost half of the investment in UK renewables from January 2012 to February 2014 had been planned for Scotland. Of the £34 billion planned, £14 billion had been designated for Scotland. These projects get subsidised by the UK government and an Independent Scotland would have threatened these investments Bloomberg says.

The Scottish Parliament led by First Minister Alex Salmond from the Scottish National Party (SNP), who following the No vote today resigned, has been a big supporter of renewable energy. Almost half of Scottish electricity is met by renewables and Salmond had plans for that to increase to 100% by 2020. Salmond’s vision was that Scottish renewables would fare better in an Independent Scotland.

The UK are very reliant on Scottish renewables as the UK import large quantities of electricity from Scotland and 34% of UK’s renewable capacity is located in Scotland. It has been argued that if Scotland had gained independence, the UK would have struggled to meet the goal of 15% of electricity produced by renewables, which they are required to meet by 2020 according to EU law.

Sub edited by Charlotte Paton

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