Scotland Can Lead Green Industrial Revolution Through Independence

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A new report into Scotland’s green energy and renewables industry has said that Scotland has the potential to become a green energy powerhouse, creating up to 385,000 jobs, boosting Scotland’s economy by up to £34billion a year by 2050 and lowering energy bills permanently.

The report, by economist Dr David Skilling, suggests that Scotland can increase its green energy output by over five times the currrent rate, increasing from Scotland’s current capacity of 12GW to over 80GW by 2050.

With estimates showing that Scotland has the potential to generate around 10% of Europe’s wave power and posses 25% of the potential European offshore wind and tidal resource, it’s clear that Scotland has the energy to lead the renewables revolution but now we need the powers to make it a reality.

For too long, Westminster has held Scotland’s energy potential back. This has had a devastating impact on our economy and jobs, as well as selling Scotland short in the current energy crisis.

Decision after decision taken by Westminster governments has lost Scotland progress in our drive towards a green, sustainable future. With the scrapping of promised investment in projects like carbon capture and storage, creating a transmission charges system that negative affects Scottish energy producers and pursuing a recklessly damaging Brexit, it’s clear Scotland is being held back by Westminster.

Scotland has a golden opportunity to lead an energy transition that secures net zero, enhances energy security and lowers energy costs for consumers. But to take that opportunity Scotland needs the powers to take action that can only be achieved through independence.

Here’s a breakdown of Scotland’s potential green industrial revolution outlined in the new report. You can read the full report here.

Scotland’s full energy potential

Scotland is an energy-rich nation, and we have the potential to achieve the green equivalent of a new oil boom. The new report illustrates how Scotland is already a green energy powerhouse across the British Isles and can expand on our potential to be a leading European producer of green and renewable energy.

  • Already in Scotland we produce over 60% of the UK’s onshore wind energy capacity, leading the way on renewable energy production.
  • Renewable electricity accounted for 99% of Scotland’s gross electricity consumption in 2020, up from 24% in 2010. This is one of the highest shares across advanced economies, demonstrating Scotland’s potential as a renewable energy powerhouse.
  • Scotland is already a net exporter of electricity. In 2020, 31.8TWh of renewable electricity was generated in Scotland – equivalent of powering all households in Scotland for almost three and a half years.
  • The report shows that Scotland has the potential to boost our renewable energy output by more than five times. Rocketing from 12GW of installed renewable capacity to over 80GW by 2050, delivering roughly £14.5billion to Scotland’s economy and 110,000 jobs.
  • Scotland has the potential to generate around 10% of Europe’s wave power and posses 25% of the potential European offshore wind and tidal resource. Offshore wind costs are estimated to be lower than new nuclear generation and are already close to being competitive with other fuels like natural gas illustrating the future of energy is in renewables.

By unleashing a green industrial revolution Scotland’s economy can flourish

By investing in the renewables revolution, Scotland will be able to reap the benefits across wider society and the economy. Scotland’s rich natural resources mean that we can generate enough cheap green electricity to power Scotland’s economy, and also export electricity to our neighbours. All the while, supporting jobs in Scotland and our net zero decarbonisation ambitions.

  • Access to low cost, renewable energy can give Scottish businesses a competitive advantage and encourage companies to expand their operations across Scotland. Scotland’s foreign direct investment (FDI) performance is already outpacing Europe and the rest of the UK and can be further enhanced amongst energy companies looking for long-term investment in renewables.
  • Leveraging our leading position in offshore wind and our pioneering reputation in tidal technology, Scotland can attract economic growth in advisory and services firms serving global markets.
  • With estimates of green hydrogen exports to Europe in the region of £48 billion annually by 2050, Scotland can become a substantial green hydrogen exporter delivering thousands of jobs and boosting Scotland’s economy.
  • A boom in our renewable and hydrogen potential will help in delivering Scotland’s Just Transition, ensuring that highly skilled jobs from the oil and gas sector are maintained through the transition to our growing renewables sector.

Westminster is holding Scotland back, we need to take the handbrake off our potential with independence

In an energy-rich nation like Scotland, it is simply unacceptable that almost half of households are struggling to afford energy bills when Scotland produces more electricity than it uses because of the failure of Westminster. The scandal of the current crisis is that renewable electricity is already relatively cheap and yet because the power over energy policy lies with Westminster, Scotland is forced to suffer the consequences of inaction and ideological politics from Tory government’s we never voted for. The effects of Scotland’s lack of control over energy policy are plain to see.

  • After Westminster’s deeply damaging Brexit, limits on Scotland’s labour supply has led to negative impacts for Scottish businesses not faced by European counterparts. However, with independence, Scotland can position itself as an attractive location for high-skilled workers in the energy sector like it always has before.
  • With limited financial and borrowing powers, Scotland is dependent on the actions of the UK government for investment to unleash our full potential in renewable energies. Yet Westminster has already proven time after time that it is not willing to invest in Scotland’s energy sector, meaning that it is only with independence that we can fully unlock Scotland’s renewables potential.
  • The UK’s energy system isn’t fit for purpose. While Scotland’s offshore and onshore wind can able provide electricity at a lower cost than nuclear or gas-fired power, the UK’s wholesale energy prices are driven up because of Westminster’s decision to rely on gas – the most expensive form of energy generation. Under Westminster control, Scotland is powerless to break the link between the cost of gas and the price of renewable and low-carbon electricity meaning energy prices will continue to rise.
  • Scotland’s energy producers continue to be put at a major financial disadvantage by Westminster’s the disastrous transmission pricing system, with Scottish Renewables noting the that alone the Westminster system “makes Scottish offshore wind farms 20% more expensive than those in English waters”.

For too long, Westminster has held energy-rich Scotland back and our communities are now facing the devastating consequences. We cannot allow Westminster to squander Scotland’s renewable energy potential, just as it squandered our oil wealth.

Scotland has a golden opportunity to lead an energy transition that secures net zero, enhances energy security and lowers energy costs for consumers. It is now time to grasp that opportunity and time to choose that independent green future.