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Green energy ‘will only flourish

Green energy ‘will only  flourish
Scotland's renewable energy industry will only flourish if the country remains part of the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday.

Scotland’s renewable energy industry will only flourish if the country remains part of the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday.

He spoke out after one of the world’s biggest financial institutions, Citigroup, warned its clients to exercise “extreme caution” and take a “precautionary approach” to investing in the sector because of Scotland’s uncertain constitutional future.

An investors report said it was “questionable” if an independent Scotland could afford to pay an annual subsidy of £4billion to deliver the power needed to generate 100% of electricity within nine years – a SNP government target.

It said renewable projects in Scotland were currently funded by payments from 27million households and 4.7million businesses across the UK.

By contrast, Scotland has 2.3million households and 300,000 businesses.

Tory finance spokesman Gavin Brown said the report showed that the annual cost to Scottish households for subsidies, in the event of separation, would be £875 each.

He said Citigroup had provided a “deeply worrying insight into the shocking cost” of energy if Scotland broke away from the UK., and urged the SNP not to delay the independence referendum any further.

First Minister Alex Salmond dismissed the report’s findings yesterday, saying energy generated by renewables would be exported to other countries and the money raised would go towards subsidies.

The Aberdeenshire East MSP said companies from both Scotland and overseas were already committing billions of pounds to renewable energy projects.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Cameron said: “Major financial institutions yesterday warned of the dangers of investing in Scotland while there is this uncertainty about the future of the constitution.

“I think it is very important we keep our UK together and we support vital industries like green technology.

“The combination of a green investment bank sponsored by the UK Government and the many natural advantages there are in Scotland means it can be a great industry for people in Scotland, but we will only do that if we keep our country together.”

But Mr Salmond said: “The analyst from Citigroup seems to think we’re going to use all this power in Scotland. We’re not. It’s power for export. In the modern world the ability to produce power is a great asset, not a liability.

“You don’t need a crystal ball, you just need to read the book and the book tells you that over the last year alone £750million has been invested in Scottish renewables.”

ScottishPower said: “Scotland has some of the best renewable resources in Europe and we continue have ambitious plans.”

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