Scotland to hand renewable subsidy controls to Westminster, independent or not

The Scottish government has confirmed to The Herald that the repatriation from Scotland to London of powers to control the subsidies for renewable energy development will go ahead, whether Scotland votes for independence or not.

Today’s Herald, Sunday 27th January, reports that the Energy Bill, now on passage through Westminster, will see no more than a consultative role for the Scottish Government, devolved or independent, in setting these subsidies.

As The Herald points out, this gives Westminster control over whether or not Scotland will meet its target of providing 100% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.

Yet the Scottish government has been explicit in telling The Herald that it does not anticipate setting up an independent subsidy regime in an independent Scotland; and that it sees the arrangements proposed in the Energy Bill as of benefit to ‘all GB customers’.

The Herald wonders if this unexpected subordination is a move by the Scottish government to escape from electoral responsibility for the subsidies that will drive electricity prices ever higher.

We’re intrigued by the quoted mention from the Scottish government source of the Bill’s measures being of benefit to ‘all GB customers’ – given that the remark was looking to the future.

This information comes within a couple of days of the SNP’s defence spokesperson at Westminster, Angus Robertson MP, floating the benefits of a ‘common airforce’.

These two recent propositions leave the SNP’s vision of an ‘independent’ Scotland, to date, as including:

  • the Monarchy, with the Queen as Head of State;
  • the pound sterling as our currency;
  • the Bank of England as our fiscal policy controller and lender of last resort;
  • a common airforce;
  • a common subsidy regime for renewable energy;
  • British passports;
  • British driving licences;
  • British defence bases…

The question is obvious: ‘What’s independent about this?’.

The reality is that we’ve already got all of these things – and more – so why put ourselves in a position where we have to ask for them?

We’re wondering if today’s revelation by The Herald is the Plan MacB the First Minister has always denied having.

The SNP’s envisaged situation post 2014 – largely  but not exclusively listed above – would see Scotland as effectively no more than a rather more independent member of the UK than at present: the federalist solution.

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28 Responses to Scotland to hand renewable subsidy controls to Westminster, independent or not

  1. The government would never prejudge the referendum outcome in framing its legislation. That would be too much like doing Salmond’s work for him. The SG have increased subsidies without reference to, and out of step with, the UK so they have a devolved power to do so and is all the more surprising to hear that the SG are happily prepared to hand that power over; seems an unlikely story.

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  2. Could it simply be that this is an example of pragmatic co-operation since post independence there will be much to co-operate on. So what’s wrong with that?

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  3. Well Doc – I’m sure you still follow ForArgyll to see if you get a mention – what did I tell you all last Summer. Wee Eck and his nonsense party had hung an albatross of near £500 million round the Scottish people’s neck, each year for the next 20 years, and was happily on the road to double that. With Independence ( heaven forbid) that would have had to be paid for by each and every household in Scotland, over and above their normal electricity bill. Yet another Flagship policy bites the dirt – how many more before the lot of them resign and call an early election.
    But make my day – what was it Donald Trump said to the parliamentary committee and in front of the world’s press ‘ YOU WILL BANKRUPT SCOTLAND’ – well it seems that Salmond and company have at long last realised the truth of the man’s words – and have run away.

    PS Hampshire County Council are to ban Wind Turbines from all council land. Lets hope it’s a policy that spreads far and wide throughout the UK.

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    • Donald Trump is widely regarded, by people from all political parties and beyond, as a complete fruitcake.
      I would quote someone with just a wee bit more credibility than him to use in my arguments. Like David Icke, perhaps.

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      • Donald Trump seems to be a very focussed fruitcake, and surely it’s his apparent wealth and clout that attracts some politicians (and police forces) into debasing themselves.

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  4. And there was the DECC last week signing a memorandum of understanding with the Republic of Ireland to purchase renewable energy from them.

    Seems that the ROI has plans to install substantial wind turbine capacity in the Midlands of Ireland and elsewhere and that the UK want to buy it.

    Just another point to nail the repeated negative downsaying that the unionists continually pump out about Scotland being cursed with renewable energy resources. ( just as they are cursed for having oil resources that couldn’t possibly benefit the economy)

    What do you think of that Newsie in your support for all things Unionist. In fact with this DECC agreement with the ROI, they might even sell their electricity to your unionist cousins in the North.

    Imagine that, co-operation, negotiation, and the ROI having something the DECC want.

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    • Don’t hold yer breath, Willie. The connection to which you refer went live on 21 Dec 2012 and all the power has flown *into* Eire since, and Eirgrid promptly shut down half their peat burners. These were going to be classed as renewable under Article 12 by the EU but it never happened. Peat emissions are worse than coal and for Ireland to start exporting power for which it will bear the emission cost whilst burning peat makes no sense? Eire has to cure that and other problems before power wil flow out.

      The connector could feed NI and avoid the Moyle connector which is Scottish. I’d put my money there.

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  5. Yet another ‘memorandum of understanding’ which may very well come to nothing – in fact like so many Salmond has come up with to grab headlines. Incidentally the turbines proposed for this windless bit of Ireland are to be somewhere near 200 metres to catch the odd breath of wind passing by.

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  6. It’s not just about keeping the monarchy and the £…..domestic appliances are still going to run on 240volts and we’ll still be driving on the left……you’re so right Newsroom, what’s independent about this?

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    • Many countries share currencies, voltage and drive on the same side of road as each other but are still independent countries, raising and spending their own taxes, making decisions for the good of the people who reside in them.
      What point are you and Newsroom for that matter attempting to make by citing these examples?

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  7. Ah Hans if your going to tell chookies can I direct you to the DECC’s press release of the 24th January 2013, which I will for clarity set out below – verbatim.

    The Rt Hon Edward Davey will say.

    ” Trading power with Ireland could increase the amount of green power in our energy mix and potentially bring down costs for UK consumers. Making the most of the natural resources around our islands could benefit the economies of both countries ”

    Seems clear to me what the UK minister is saying, but you Hans are saying something quite different.

    Moreover, the very same DECC release records the following statement by Irish minister Pat Rabbitte..

    ” Ireland has the potential to generate far more wind energy than we could consume”

    Not quite how you see Mr Blix, but obviously you see it differently from the UK minister. Just giving it the Jive Hans.

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    • Willie, I’m just reporting what is actually happening now, the fundamentally good reasons why it is happening and why it is likely to continue for some years.

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    • Willie, the press statement reads: “Trading power with Ireland COULD increase the amount of green power in our energy mix and POTENTIALLY bring down costs for UK consumers. Making the most of the natural resources around our islands COULD benefit the economies of both countries”

      Nothing there to say that it WILL happen.

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  8. Some of our pro-independence bloggers cite many countries that have achieved independence(without acknowledging any difficulties that they had to overcome to do so) but I wonder how many of the said countries still retained such ties as:

    •the Monarchy,
    •the currency;
    •the Bank as a fiscal policy controller and lender of last resort;
    •a common airforce;
    •a common subsidy regime for renewable energy;
    • passports;
    • driving licences;
    • defence bases…

    There are none that I can think of. I’m not sure what the SNP is seeking but it isn’t independence.

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    • Lowry, since you’ve asked, virtually all the Dominions and ex-Dominions (including Ireland), and Colonies and former Colonies of the Empire, were locked into Sterling, either using Sterling or with currency pegged to Sterling, up until Britain joined Europe in the early 1970s. That’s a very long list which includes Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Nigeria, India, etc., etc., the exception being Canada (linked to the US dollar at that time). Small overseas territories excepted, Ireland was last to leave Sterling in 1979.

      The main point is that, bar Canada, ALL Britain’s former possessions used Sterling or tied their currencies to Sterling after gaining independence (and for many decades at that in the case of many of the bigger Dominions).

      Ditto for very many of the above group regarding their choice of constitutional head of state.

      In so saying, I am not endorsing either of those proposals but these are the facts.

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    • The smaller members of the Commonwealth have little or no means of defending themselves beyond a lightly armed coast/border guard; many of them have bilateral defence agreements with the UK.

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      • Yes, and as for UK military bases in former possessions post-independence, there have been so many I won’t attempt to list them. Suffice to say that these were not restricted to very small states. I’ve no doubt that many of them would still exist if Britain could have continued to afford them.

        And again, by pointing this out, I am not indicating my support. All I’m saying is that no one can claim it is exceptional, or peculiar to Scotland, where the process of gaining independence from Britain is concerned.

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      • Defending themselves against … whom?
        The Soviets have been dead and gone for 23 years now, and I can’t think of anybody else, save for the Mali rebels but there would be certain logistical problems there.

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    • It will be an ongoing thing to resolve these issues, but certainly not impossible. The opposite is to do nothing which is what a number of anti-independence types on these forums would advocate.
      Where would that get us, I wonder?

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  9. No bother at all Hans and I am delighted to note that both you (?) and certainly the Rt Hon Edward Davies recognise that green power will bring down UK consumer energy costs.

    I think that is very good news not just for Scotland and Ireland who wre blessed with renewable energy resources, but also for the other residents on these islands and beyond.

    And fair play to the Rt Hon Edward MP and UK Energy Minister for saying so.

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  10. Oh dear, even when you quote verbatim what UK and Irish Republic ministers release as press statements someone comes along and acts the Daftie.

    NO DOUBT THE RT HON EDWARD DAVEY IS A DAFTIE TOO SPEAKING IN DAFTIE LANGUAGE THAT ONLY DAFTIES CAN UNDERSTAND.

    Well Benashiel you better tell poor Paddy that he too, like Scotland is making a big mistake and that the UK’s minister knows this because that is why he and the DECC are signing up for Scottish and Irish renewable electricity.

    Jeez man read the DECC press release and stop acting the clown.

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  11. And yes Benashiel, I read the recent announcement that the Japanese are going to construct the world’s biggeet offshore wind farm.

    It’s a 1.2 giga watt system and it’s being built off the coast from Fukishima.

    Maybe like Scotland, Ireland and the UK minister, the Japanese think that it, MIGHT, COULD, POTENTIALLY, POSSIBLY produce cost effective electricity as opposed to WILL.

    I hope you don’t think the Japanese are wrong too oh wise sage since it seems they think of it better altogether than good old expensive nuclear.

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  12. And to change the subject I see that the natives in the northern most part of England are getting agitated about proposals for a nuclear dump.

    I wonder why. Surely they know it’s an investment for the future. And yes, there are plans for a dump up here too. A high level one at that too.

    Maybe HM Govt will ask the underpopulated Republic of Ireland or the Kingdom of Norway if they would oblige what with Ireland having it’s bogs, and Norway all those hard mountains in which to store the UK’s nuclear waste.

    Incidentally, both Ireland and Norway have complained about their suspicions that current flows are causing cancer inducing radioactive discharges to cause unedplained cancer clusters through sea borne transportation.

    And yes, there are suspicious cancer clusters in Scotland to. So maybe a big no to dumping and the industry generally.

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  13. Peter McKenzie. Fair observations of fact.

    And although Australia is an economically successful independent country with it’s own AUD currency, guess whose head is on the coins?

    Although not important it does show a degree of the wish to retain shared cultural ties between two independent nations who are friends. Ditto New Zealand and Canada, albeit that I’ve never seen a Canadian coin which might not have the Queen’s head unlike the others.

    So why all the Bitter Togethef angst. Friends by choice and agreement. How natural and sensible.

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  14. Surely a late entry into January’s ‘Statement of the Blindingly Obvious’ contest by the Herald;

    “The Herald wonders if this unexpected subordination is a move by the Scottish government to escape from electoral responsibility for the subsidies that will drive electricity prices ever higher.”

    There’s an obvious reason why this is attractive in Edinburgh and Westminster; the Scottish Government get to blame Westminster for ballooning energy bills killing Scottish pensioners in fuel poverty, and the Tories get to stick a knife in their coalition partners, as Scotland is an electoral wasteland to them but the LibDems have seats they could easily lose.

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