Scottish Energy Commission

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has announced the establishment of an Expert Commission on Energy Regulation in an independent Scotland. Chaired by Robert Armour OBE. The Commission will produce a full report by the end of this year and will provide interim findings to inform the Scottish Government’s White Paper on independence in Autumn 2013.

The work of the Expert Commission will build on the proposals for regulation set out in the Scottish Government’s document ‘Economic and Competition Regulation in an Independent Scotland’ published in February 2013. This confirmed that the Scottish Government favoured the continuation of a GB-wide energy generation market. Another example of Indy-lite that has drawn considerable criticism, including these pages.

The Commission’s remit includes:

The role of a Scottish Regulator
The role of market mechanisms in ensuring an independent Scotland can participate efficiently in an integrated GB-market
How a new strategic energy partnership with the UK will operate
Options for an optimal policy and regulatory environment to support renewables, innovation and the supply chain
Options for the enhancing the promotion of fairer energy prices to address fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency

Announcing the Expert Commission, Ferguson Ewing said:

“I am delighted that Robert Armour and the other members have agreed to participate in this expert commission to look at the very important matter of effective stewardship in the field of electricity and gas and the options that an independent Scotland should consider to ensure the best model for operation. Their breadth of experience and knowledge will be invaluable to the commission’s work. Scotland’s contribution to the UK’s energy requirements is already considerable. And as we have witnessed by the figures released by Ofgem last week which show that projections for spare capacity in the GB system are now more critical than ever, Scotland’s energy will be even more important in the future. Our position of a continued GB-wide market is therefore based on sound reasoning and is a model that will be in all parties’ interests. It is important that we are in possession of all available detail, including independent advice, as the constitutional debate develops and the work of this commission will be a welcome contribution to that process. I look forward to its report.”

Sadly for Fergus Ewing many independent commentators have highlighted flaws in his plan, based on his belief that the lights will go out in England without Scottish renewables. National Grid and others have said this is simply not the case. Today’s Herald runs another story highlighting the many other energy sources rUK would have at its disposal, leaving Scottish negotiators ‘over a barrel’.

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