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Scottish independence: what would a ‘Yes’ vote mean for energy policy?



Energy, natural resources and sustainability have all featured in the Scottish independence debate, with both unionists and nationalists voicing their opinions on the subject. Whilst Scotland has a relatively large renewable sector, the value of its oil resources has been drawn into question.

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On September 18, Scots will take to the polls to decide if they want to become an independent country or remain part of the union. Recent polls have suggested that the result will be close, with those that have yet to decide set to play a crucial part in the vote, potentially tipping the scales.

Energy is one of the issues that both sides of the argument have looked at. Figures published in March this year found that nearly half of Scotland’s energy needs are now met by renewable and cleans sources. Investment in the Scottish renewable energy sector has also continued to grow, suggesting that Scotland could continue this trend if it becomes independent.

The first draft constitution of an independent Scotland was also published in June, and features sustainability across a number of areas. This includes the government working to promote the “conservation of biodiversity” and “measures to tackle climate change”. It also adds that natural resources are to be used in a manner that is “sustainable”.

The constitution indicates that Scotland would continue and encourage decarbonising its economy, moving away from polluting fossil fuels and towards clean sources of energy. When speaking about the challenges an independent Scotland would face, the Scottish National Party (SNP) said the country would “need to build renewable wealth”.

However, an independent Scotland could struggle to maintain its level of investment in renewables. Renewable energy generator Infinis, for example has announced it will keep plan for two Scottish wind farms on hold until after the referendum.

Photo: Patrick Finnegan via Flickr 

Further reading:

Scottish independence: take our poll

Scottish independence: one week to go

Scottish salmon farmers under scrutiny over seals shooting

Scottish independence: yes vote ahead as debate heats up

Should Scotland be an independent country?

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