Sturgeon handed huge independence boost as Scotland can power itself ‘without Westminster’

Sturgeon criticises Boris Johnson over 'missed opportunity'

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The Scottish National Party (SNP) is said to be ready to step up efforts for a second vote on independence. Renewable energy formed a key part of the first independence battle as Scotland boasts one of the most favourable conditions in Europe for harvesting wind. At the time, Dr David Toke, from the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Aberdeen, published a study on the feasibility of Scotland standing alone.

He, along with four other researchers, stated in 2013 that the “political support for renewable energy development” in Scotland is “built on something of a paradox”.

They added: “Put simply, without the subsidies paid by electricity consumers in the rest of the UK, the Scottish Government’s ambitious targets for renewable energy would be politically unachievable.”

But now, eight years later, Dr Toke has told that “things have changed quite a bit”.

In an exclusive interview, he added: “The cost of onshore and offshore wind has fallen by large amounts meaning that, given the cost of wind power is now a lot lower than the current wholesale power price, they would be able to finance their own renewable energy programme without Westminster support. 

“That is without large energy price increases for the consumer.

“In fact, given the much larger wind resources in Scotland they could actually be able to earn revenue from exporting power from Scotland to England to meet the net zero targets by the cheapest means possible.

“That would be an interesting turnaround.”

In March, it was revealed that Scotland narrowly missed a target to generate the equivalent of 100 percent of its electricity demand from renewables in 2020.

New figures reveal it reached 97.4 percent from renewable sources.

This target was set in 2011, when renewable technologies generated just 37 percent of national demand.

Industry body Scottish Renewables said output had tripled in the last 10 years, with enough power for the equivalent of seven million households.

In 2019 it was reported that Scotland was producing enough wind energy to power the country twice over.

It came after the Scottish government’s 2014 independence proposal stated that a single UK-wide market for each of electricity and gas should continue.

But the Government argued that it saw no basis to justify continued cost-sharing of a single integrated market and stated the arrangement “could not continue in its current form”.

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They also warned that household energy bills would increase by at least £38 and annual household bills could increase by up to £189 if the full cost of supporting renewable energy projects fell to Scottish bill payers.

But the Scottish Government refuted the claims and former Secretary for Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, even claimed that England’s lights “would go out” without Scotland’s renewable energy.

The SNP said that a single UK-wide market for each of electricity and gas was the only logical step forward.

Today Prime Minister Boris Johnson will begin a two-day visit to Scotland later, but will not meet the country’s First Minister for talks.

Mr Johnson is expected to instead visit renewable energy projects ahead of the global UN climate summit in Glasgow this November.

Speaking on Sky News, Ms Sturgeon said she does “not feel snubbed” but highlighted it was “strange” that he had denied her invitation to discuss the recovery from COVID-19.

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