The United Kingdom would have the government of an independent Scotland “over a barrel” on renewable energy, a senior Coalition source has insisted.
Up until now, Alex Salmond, the First Minister, has insisted the UK would have to rely on Scottish renewables to not only meets its green targets but also keep its lights on.
However, a senior UK Government source said Whitehall would have the whip hand.
He said: “Salmond thinks an independent Scotland would have the UK over a barrel when it comes to renewable energy; in fact, we will have him over a barrel.”
The source said Ireland was offering to build more windfarms to provide cheap green energy to the British market.
He added that Scandinavian countries had plentiful supplies of renewable energy which the UK could tap into.
He said: “The idea that the UK would have to rely on Scottish renewables is just not true. It’s a commercial market and we could go anywhere. Salmond’s just wrong on this.”
However, with Scotland having 25% of Europe’s off-shore wind and tidal resource as well as 10% of its wave resource, the SNP Government believes this makes Scotland the green powerhouse of Europe.
Figures show Scotland’s renewable energy output rose 45% in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year.
In February, five academics, led by Dr David Toke of Birmingham University, warned the Scottish Government the First Minister’s ambitious plans for renewable energy in an independent Scotland were politically unachievable as the rest of the UK would be unlikely to continue subsidising them.
The SNP administration said the experts were mistaken and that the UK not only “needs Scotland’s electricity to meet its renewables targets but also to help keep the lights on.”
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