Scottish Independence and Its Green Ambition

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Will Scotland get independence in the future? Well, it nearly won its independence on 18th September when the Scottish independence referendum took place in Scotland. The entire world watched this historic referendum with bated breath which in the end fell in favor of the ‘No’ side with 55.3% voting against independence. Scotland’s independence history goes back a long time back to the middle ages when it used to have its own national identity. Movie watchers can associate this fact with movies like Braveheart.

But what’s in it for Scotland when it comes to its energy source? Will it be able to survive on its own if it manages to gain independence in the coming years? Let us find out.

Scotland is arguably one of the greenest countries in Europe. It produces 40 per cent of Scottish electricity demand from renewable sources, and models suggest this could rise to 67 percent by 2018. That’s closing in on the government’s goal of producing enough green power to supply the equivalent of all of Scottish demand by 2020.

Scotland produces 40 percent of its electricity demand from renewable sources..

Some fear that independence means this goal will be too expensive for Scotland because offshore wind is expensive. “It’s silly to say it’s going to be expensive,” says David Toke of the University of Aberdeen, “when in fact it can be done pretty cheaply onshore.” Toke and his colleagues published estimates last year suggesting that independence would ruin Scotland’s chances of hitting its green goal.

But later that year the team made a U-turn: they now say that it will be cheaper for Scotland to pursue its 2020 target as an independent nation. What changed? Newly announced nuclear power stations will need funding in the UK and new financial policies heavily favour nuclear over wind power.

Newly announced nuclear power stations will need funding in the UK and new financial policies heavily favour nuclear over wind power.

So it now makes more sense for a green Scottish consumer to vote for independence, says Toke. Electricity bills will still go up – by about 7 per cent, he claims – and this will pay for onshore wind power. In the UK, bills would rise by 8 to 10 per cent to pay for new nuclear, Toke says. An independent Scotland will need a close electrical alliance with England and Wales. A power-sharing market that allows all those involved to navigate the peaks and troughs of supply and demand is a tricky business.

This balancing act is particularly tough when fickle renewables are involved, but there is a precedent in Scandinavia. Nord Pool is a power-sharing market on a grid that runs largely on renewables. Accordingly, the incumbent Scottish National Party (SNP) has proposed an “energy partnership” with the UK.

Scotland won’t be kicking the oil habit. The excess will come largely from its traditional fossil fuel and nuclear power resources.

Don’t be fooled by all this green ambition – Scotland won’t be kicking the oil habit. Its target is to produce the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scottish demand with renewables, but the country will remain a big energy exporter. The excess will come largely from its traditional fossil fuel and nuclear power resources.

But the SNP says emphasis will be placed on developing carbon dioxide capture and storage for its fossil fuel power stations. It’s not easy being green, but independence might make it a little easier.

Only time will tell if another referendum in the future will decide Scotland’s freedom. For now, U.K is still united with its four countries. We wonder whether in the future if Scotland does get its independence, the famous British Union Jack will also have to be changed.

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