SCOTLAND could earn £2billion a year exporting electricity if energy policy was fully devolved from Westminster, according to a think-tank.
Reform Scotland has published a report highlighting the role the country could play in renewable energy.
And its says Scotland could become the biggest exporter of low-carbon electricity in Europe.
Trustee Graeme Blackett said: “We would support the aim of a substantial increase in energy exports with a target of around half of electricity generated in Scotland being exported because, even using conservative assumptions on prices, this would increase Scottish exports by £2billion per annum — equivalent to around 17% of manufacturing exports to the rest of the UK.
“Given that some of the current fossil fuel and nuclear capacity will still be available in 2020, this is feasible if the 100% renewables target set by the Scottish Government is met.”
To become Europe’s leader, between 50% and 75% of electricity generation would have to be from low-carbon sources by 2030 so there is enough electricity to exceed Scottish demand.
Reform Scotland has also called on Westminster to devolve energy policy to Holyrood, to encourage new technologies such as carbon capture and storage could be accommodated.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing welcomed the report and said “We share the view that Scotland could become the biggest exporter of low-carbon electricity in Europe. We already produce 40% of the UK’s renewable electricity.
“Transferring powers to the Scottish Parliament over energy would enable us to go even further and make energy markets work better for Scottish consumers, industry and the Scottish economy.”
Labour’s shadow energy minister, Tom Greatrex, described the report as “incoherent and confused”.