There are many reasons why it is a categorical imperative for Scots to vote yes on 18 September.
In short, there are overwhelmingly positive advantages to the economy of Scotland that stem from us having control of our nation’s natural energy resources.
We must avoid past mistakes:
Misuse of oil revenue
Direct tax from oil and gas production over the past 40 years has handed the UK Exchequer £300 billion. This largess has either been invested in London or the South East of England, or poured into the Uk’s national debt black hole. It has not been invested in Scotland.
Misuse of renewable energy potential
Scotland has incredible facilities for producing wind power from on-land and offshore locations in Scottish waters. In addition, our power generation potential from wave, tidal and hydro power matches that of any country in the EU. The UK government have failed lamentably to adequately support investment in these resources.
We must grab the opportunity to be self-sufficient in energy terms and to protect the livelihood of future generation of Scots:
Future tax revenue from conventional reserves
Tax from remaining conventional oil and gas reserves will produce another £300 billion. This calculation is based on the majority view of experts that the remaining reserves are 24 billion barrels of oil equivalent, or more, and that that oil prices will remain high or increase by 2050.
Future tax revenue from unconventional reserves
Tax from unconventional energy sources in the North Sea may well double this revenue over the longer term which means a tax windfall of £600 billion to Scotland. There is every chance the Kimmeridge Clay deposits will provide oil and gas production for the next 100 years. Our grandchildren’s future will be protected if this tax is available for investment by the Scottish Government. Of course the effect on the economy of Scotland is much higher than mere direct taxation of oil companies. Our 2000 plus supply chain companies will prosper and jobs will be secured.
Future revenue from renewables
Like oil and gas, Scotland currently generates more electricity that it consumes. This will continue in the future if control of renewable energy sources is in our own hands. We will be happy to help meet England’s power deficit. We can help England avoid blackouts. Or avoid England being forced to pay high prices from electricity from France, for example.
Future contribution to climate change targets
Unlike England, we will meet the climate change and carbon emission target sets for 2020 by the EU. The EU will welcome our continued membership as we will be its largest producer of oil and gas and renewable energy. England looks like it faces the real prospect of losing EU membership as a consequence of being forced to hold a referendum after the next general election, unless the UK coalition government reneges once again on its promises.