Scotland’s Future: Fears for ‘eye-watering’ energy bills over renewables plans

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The Tories have claimed that electricity bills could rise to “eye-watering proportions” in an independent Scotland under SNP renewable energy plans.

They said the UK Government would never agree to proposals which would mean consumers in England and Wales continuing to subsidise windfarms through their bills.

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser, convener of Holyrood’s energy committee, said: “Without the UK-wide subsidies, we will see either an end to the renewable industry in Scotland, or a massive increase in consumer bills.”

Former chancellor Alistair Darling said the Scottish Government could not “assert blandly” that people south of the border would continue to fund green energy production in a foreign country.

Anti-windfarm campaigner Denise Davis, of Kiltarlity in the Highlands, claimed the proposal was “unrealistic” and would make people who live south of the border “really angry” because they would also be expected to pay for energy exported from Scotland.

Jean Swain, of Grimsby, who has family connections to Glasgow, said there would a “riot” in England if people already struggling to cope with fuel bills were expected to subsidise Scotland.

“I have a lot of affection for Scotland and if people want it to be independent then OK, but I feel they should be funding it themselves,” she added.

According to the Scottish Government’s white paper on independence, it was in the “common interest” for the country to continue its participation in the GB-wide market for electricity.

Caithness, Sutherland and Ross SNP MSP Rob Gibson said: “Scotland currently exports 26% of the electricity generated here, so it is entirely fair to say that it is critical when it comes to keeping the lights on in the rest of the UK.

“The vital role that Scotland plays in the energy market and the abundant renewable energy resources available means that it is in everyone’s interest for an independent Scotland to work closely with the rest of the UK by maintaining the integrated energy market across these islands.”

Bur Mr Darling, leader of the pro-UK Better Together group, poured cold water on the claims, saying: “Just add that to the list of things that will have to be negotiated – and you cannot assert that it will continue because at some point someone south of the border might say ‘hold on – we are paying more in our bills to generate electricity in another foreign country’.”

Mr Fraser said: “This white paper is either the death knell for Scotland’s renewable energy industry, or a recipe for eye-watering bill rises. English consumers would be furious at the prospect of paying higher bills to import expensive energy from Scotland. No government elected to represent people down south would possibly agree to such an arrangement.”