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Scottish Renewables' post-referendum paper proposes additional energy powers for Scotland

Nick Sharpe

Senior Media Manager

Posted on 23/09/2014 by Nick Sharpe

Scottish Renewables will today set out the green energy industry’s asks for a post-referendum UK energy sector in a paper titled Harnessing Scotland’s Energy.

The document details six key areas which the country’s £1bn-a-year renewable energy sector would like to see addressed following the result of last week’s independence vote – including the further devolution of energy sector powers to Scotland.

The paper sets out in more detail the powers the industry wants to see in a number of areas including Energy Policy, Regulation, Connecting Scotland’s Islands, Shared Ownership,  Marine Energy Funding and the Crown Estate (further details of these are given in the Notes to Editors section at the end of this press release).

Scottish Renewables’ Chief Executive Niall Stuart will address the organisation’s Marine Conference in Inverness at 1pm today (Tuesday 23 September) where he is expected to say: “Given the importance of the contribution that Scotland and the other devolved nations will make to the UK’s energy ambitions, and the growing importance of the sector to all our economies, we believe that it is time for a more coordinated and strategic approach to the formation of energy policy across the UK.

“This should reflect our respective strengths, resources and priorities, and be designed to deliver the optimal energy mix for the UK as we seek to keep down costs for consumers, increase energy security and cut carbon emissions.

“If there is one obvious failure of the current regulation of our industry it is the lack of grid connections to Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles – home to the country’s best wind resources, and key to the development of wave and tidal power.

“We want to see the Scottish and UK Governments commit to getting the islands connected before 2020.  No ifs. No buts. No maybes.  This will allow the islands to contribute to the cleaning-up of our energy sector, while benefitting from the jobs and investment that would follow.

“We also believe that it is time for changes to the governance of Ofgem to ensure greater alignment between the energy policies and priorities of the UK and Scotland, with a ‘Scottish Commissioner’ on the Ofgem Board and an annual report by Ofgem to the Scottish Parliament.

“All these proposals will increase the contribution that Scotland can make to energy security, employment, investment and reduced carbon emissions – to the benefit of everyone in the United Kingdom.”

Ends


Contact:
David Lee
Scottish Renewables
T: 0141 353 4980
E: dlee@scottishrenewables.com


Notes to Editors

1. Scottish Renewables Chief Executive, Niall Stuart, will be delivering the keynote speech at Scottish Renewables’Marine Energy Conference and Exhibition at Eden Court, Inverness, at 1pm on September 23.

2. A pdf version of Scottish Renewables Harnessing Scotland’s Energy paper can be downloaded here.

3. Key asks from the paper include:

Joined-up energy policy
- The UK Government and devolved administrations to agree on a joint energy policy strategy and policy document that sets out overall UK energy policy and the part that each of the devolved nations can play in delivering that. 
- This process should be supported by a triennial energy summit with representation from the UK and devolved administrations to agree the challenges ahead and how best we can work together to respond to those.

A more accountable regulator
- A formal role for the Scottish Government in the development and drafting of DECC’s Strategy and Policy Statement, which gives Ofgem strategic direction.
- A Scottish-specific member of GEMA in the same way that Crown Estate has a Scottish Commissioner.
- The Scottish Parliament should have a formal role in holding Ofgem to account over its regulatory decisions in Scotland, through an annual inquiry session with the Chief Executive in the same way as the UK Parliament.

Better connected Scotland
- Scottish and UK Governments to commit to connecting Scotland’s islands to the GB transmission grid before 2020 in order to help the islands fully unlock their renewable electricity potential.
- Scottish and UK Governments to work together to ensure that island generators are able to secure support through the Contracts for Difference funding mechanism. This will provide generators with the confidence to commit to grid connections and transmission operators the confidence to take the ‘needs case’ to Ofgem.

A devolved approach to community involvement
- Powers over shared ownership in Scotland to be devolved to the Scottish Government to allow it to choose its own method for bringing forward any proposals, which are subject to scrutiny by the Scottish Parliament.

Marine Energy Finance
- Given the scale of the investment required, and the potential benefits to Scotland and the rest of the UK, we believe it is vital that government and agencies across the UK pool resources to jointly address the challenge of how we take the sector to the next level of development.

The Crown Estate
- Any changes that may be brought forward to the management or structure of the Crown Estate in Scotland must ensure the Crown Estate’s ongoing investment and coordination programme continues.