Scotland has the energy : it needs the power

On Tuesday a major new report about Scotland’s energy was published by an independent think tank, Bottom Line. You probably heard nothing about it because this was a report from an independent think tank which showed the importance of Scottish independence if Scotland, which remains an important producer of oil and gas, is to take advantage of the current high prices for fossil fuels and to use those temporarily high revenues in order to invest in this country’s vast potential for renewable energy and to give an invaluable boost to Scotland’s transition to a net-zero economy.

The report also pointed out that the high market price for oil and gas means that the fiscal position of an independent Scotland has significantly improved. These would be the oil and gas resources which we have been told since the 1970s are running out, and yet they continue to be productive. The paper notes: “Only a fully independent Scottish Government would have the range of powers required to design and execute the necessary policies [to use oil and gas revenues to develop Scotland’s renewable energy potential]. Under devolution, Scotland lacks these powers, while the UK Government has shown no interest in developing the Scottish economy.”

Scottish news outlets, we’re looking at you BBC Scotland, and the ahem ‘neutral’ on the topic of the constitution Herald and Scotsman newspapers, which typically loudly trumpet think tank reports which warn that an independent Scotland would be an economic basket case, studiously ignored this report. This is not the first time, and it certainly will not be the last that Scotland’s media puts its ideological opposition to independence ahead of its duty to give the people of Scotland impartial information which allows them to make an informed decision on the future of their country. This is why the prime duty of those of us who do support independence and who have a platform must be to publicise this kind of information. You can read the full report here :

The paper looks at the ‘fiscal deficit so beloved of opponents of independence and highlights the impact on Scotland of the chronic under-performance of the British economy. The paper notes that had Scotland matched the average performance for advanced economies (including both large and small advanced economies) in 2019 that could have added £16 billion in tax revenues. If Scotland had matched the average performance of small advanced economies in 2019 that would have added £26 billion tax revenues. This raises the question of why Scotland has a fiscal deficit at all. Ther economic policies of the British government create the deficit that opponents of independence insist is the reason why Scotland ‘cannot afford’ to break away from the government and policies which are responsible for causing the deficit. This is a classic example of circular reasoning.

The paper discussed how the devolved Scottish Parliament, which lacks powers over energy policy and which does not have powers to borrow money in order to invest in the renewable sector, is unable to take advantage of the high prices that Scottish oil and gas are earning on international markets and so cannot harness these revenues in order to reduce energy prices for domestic consumers in Scotland or to give a boost to Scotland’s burgeoning renewable energy sector. Scotland has the energy, it just lacks the political power to harness it and to put it to use for the benefit of the people of Scotland.

Instead what happens now is the same as what happened in the 1980s when the vast wealth generated from Scotland’s oil and gas production was sucked out of the country and used to pay for the Thatcherite vanity of the London City Docklands development while Scotland’s traditional industries were closed down and their workforces thrown on the scrapheap. The excess profits currently being taken by the energy companies on the back of Scotland’s oil and gas production will not remain in Scotland either. Westminster and the Conservative government will ensure that they don’t.

It is an absolute disgrace that so many households in Scotland are facing fuel poverty and have to make the choice between heating their homes or putting food on the table. Scotland produces many times more energy than Scotland requires for its own needs. The sources of this energy, whether that’s oil, gas, or wind, belong collectively to all of Scotland’s citizens, but it is not being harvested and put to use for the benefit of the people who own it.

Rather Scotland’s energy is being used, not to generate warmth and light in Scottish homes and a brighter future for Scotland’s people, but instead to generate record profits for the energy companies, profits which are siphoned off to sunny tax havens while the real owners of that energy huddle under blankets in a house they cannot afford to heat. This is what colonialist exploitation looks like. It looks like the breath of a freezing child condensing in their unheated room. It looks like the blue hands of a pensioner struggling to keep warm. It looks like a family huddled around a single bar electric fire and counting the minutes that they can afford to keep it on. And all this is happening in a Scotland which possesses an embarrassing wealth of energy resources and which ought to be able to supply affordable energy to its people with ease, and still to have abundant energy for export.

All this is directly the fault of a Westminster government which jealously guards its control over energy policy and which prioritises the profits of the big energy companies rather than prioritising the needs of the citizens who actually own the energy resources from which such vast profits are being made. Scotland does not have an energy crisis, it has a Westminster power problem and a Scottish media problem.

The Bottom Line paper concludes : “The current high energy prices and Scotland’s renewable potential means that there is a historic opportunity to transform the Scottish economy. This opportunity will not be realised if Scotland remains part of the UK as the political constraints of the UK mean the necessary policies will not be implemented by a Westminster Government led by either of the main UK parties. Independence is essential so that the economic policies required can be implemented. ” But you won’t hear that from the Scottish media.


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36 comments on “Scotland has the energy : it needs the power

  1. Hamish100 says:

    It is clear for our size and population as a country we are energy rich alongside fisheries and agriculture and all the rest.
    I think the provision of additional hydro power as well as the more newer technologies is proving to be a positive.
    Labour tories and Lib Dems are stuck on pro nuclear waste electricity generating at astronomical costs.
    As with water Wales and Scotland are there to feed and quench Englands insatiable diet.

    That’s why England are scared of our independence.

  2. davetewart says:

    This morning we were exporting 5,000,000,000 Watts to englandland.
    That’s 5 GW worth £4million an hour from renewables.

    Yes we have the generation but they have kept the power.

  3. James Mills says:

    We have energy to spare ( hence ‘we’ export much to the country to the south ) ;
    we generate too much for our use but are CHARGED to feed our energy into the ”National Grid ” while others who cannot meet their own demand to the south are PAID to feed the same grid ;
    Winter temperatures are colder in Scotland BUT we get the same help with Winter Fuel payments as the warmer customers to the south ;
    in the event of a shortage of power WE who produce MORE than we consume will suffer ”blackouts” to the same extent as those to the south who consume MORE than they generate .

    Is this the ”Union Dividend” or ”Pooling and Sharing” that Gordon Brown thinks serves Scotland so well ?

  4. davetewart says:

    The londoners get additional help with their cost of living in the London Weighting Allowance.

    No Northern Areas allowance to cover the expenses of living too far away from the centre of reserved Power.

    As you say we are usually some 5 degrees colder than the south coast, we pay more for essential deliveries and our winter days are longer.

    Hopefully our independence government will continue with ‘Road’ equivalence policies for all the other essentials for life in the outer and northern islands.

  5. deelsdugs says:

    Great post Paul. Red hot as always.

    That one bar electric fire was the bane of my life when my dad was still alive…sitting in front of it, with the door open to get a clearer look at the three foot high snow, in a plastic roofed conservatory with the kerosene-fuelled radiator on full belt delighting in the fact that I paid for it to keep him from hypothermia, but he paid for the butane gas for his other gas fire, so that was okay… ‘Oh isn’t it a nice day for a gentle breeze to take the germs out…’ SCREAM, URGH. And he would still be insisting on doing this if he was still with us, then telling me that the ‘heating needs to go off now, it’s March…’ as he turned his gas fire up more. He was of sound mind. I certainly wasn’t. He is missed however.

  6. bringiton says:

    There is going to be a huge market for green hydrogen in Europe.
    England will use Scotland’s renewable energy to setup hydrogen generating plants south of the border which will then export it to Europe.
    None of that will show up on Scotland’s books however.
    At least,if we were independent,could charge them for electricity supplied but better still,do it all ourselves to directly benefit our economy.

  7. Bob Lamont says:

    Hoorah Paul !
    I shall read “thebottomline” article fully later then copy it on, but a superbly timed publication with Scots dreading incoming energy bills…
    My apologies for what will likely be a long response-

    Beyond the Independence fiscal arguments, we really should set in perspective the profound problem over basic utilities in the UK – The public have no power to effect change, only Independence offers us that, Agency, the ability to effect REAL change, which I suspect most of England hanker for.

    UK energy policy has been going the wrong way since the 1980s and there has not been a thing Scots could do about it for the last 40 years, or by SG for the last 22, it’s reserved to whichever charlatan occupies the #10 commode.

    Unfortunately for him/her/them Independence offers that Agency.

  8. Alex Clark says:

    The cost of energy and cost of living in general is the biggest concern of the electorate in Scotland as well as the rest of the UK.

    They are also of great concern to many businesses, both small and large and yet today Sunak in his grand speech failed to include energy as one of his 5 key priorities that he wants us to judge him on.

    Instead, after his speech we have had an announcement from Jeremy Hunt that next week he will tell the Commons his plans for cutting the current level of energy support for business which he describes as “unsustainably expensive” from March of this year.

    It’s not just businesses that receive this support but there is also support for hospitals, schools and other public buildings which means that the Scottish government is going to have to replace that cut to funding without receiving any additional money from Westminster, meaning Westminster cuts will have to come from other Scottish Government funded budgets.

    This is avoidable, all he has to do is to tax the excess profits of the energy producers, suppliers and the likes of National Grid whose profits have also soared during this crisis. Instead more small shops, pubs and your local takeaway will bear the brunt and many will simply shut their doors for good. In fact there are already record numbers of shops and pubs closing their doors for good every day now, and that’s without further increases in their energy costs.

    Sunak ignores all this, looking for easier “vows” to keep the public happy, he’s an idiot and this attempt to ignore the real crises all around us will come back and bite them all on the bum.

    We need grown up politics to deal with the energy, cost of living and NHS crisis but we won’t get that from Westminster, extra maths lessons for 16/17 olds just doesn’t do it for me.

    If we want to do things differently then we need the powers Independence brings.

    • sandy-gay-ecossais says:

      The system is already being used in schools in Scotland under our progressive improvements to our Scottish Education for the best part of five years now. England is copying it will their be a thank you to Scotland and Nicola Sturgeon coming too us soon then answers on a postcard to…hey no point they never answer our questions on anything we don’t exist now it would appear.!

  9. Capella says:

    Excellent article. Energy is the biggest issue today, not just in the UK but throughout Europe. We are so lucky in Scotland to be able to harness renewable energy and produce enough for our needs plus extra to export. But, as we all know, that bounty is siphoned off by Westminster to satisfy the enormous greed of Tory donors.

    I remember the SNP campaign in the 70s “It’s Scotland’s Oil”. That didn’t gain support because the Unionist parties successfully portrayed that as selfish. How selfish of us to claim ownership of our own resources. How imperialist of them to steal our resources to line the pockets of the oligarchs who own the media and the political parties in Westminster.

    As you so rightly point out, we have to rely on online resources to get the message across and this blog is one of the most important channels for doing so.
    Lang may yer new laptop whirr.

  10. ArtyHetty says:

    Here are a couple of things may be of interest here. I don’t know why I hadn’t seen this before, just reading about it today. The seismometers re safety haven’t been operational in Glasgow since last August, mustn’t be any risks involved then. The plant at Cheshire in England is not operational yet.

    Possibly others planned across central Scotland wherever coal mines existed.

  11. UndeadShaun says:

    And there are 5 new pumped storage schemes planned. And an extra turbine is possibly going to be submitted.

    Coir Glas and red john which are through planning with corrievarkie, Balliemeanoch, Glenmuckloch and one planned for lewis

    Together they will add a massive 5.5 GW of storage.

    Coir Glas alone is 1.4 GW capacity and can supply 1.4 GW of power for up to 30 hours.
    With existing pumped storage that will give Scotland a massive backup to existing renewable generation and allow windfarms energy to be stored for later.

    As an independent Scotland we would have self sufficency in all forms of energy.

    And if we were to tax exports of electricty even as a very low level per MW this would be a massive boost to Scotlands revenues.

    And with hydrogen exports that would replace oil and gas in the future.
    (Current interconnecters are around 4GW capacity? I think and these are going to be at least doubled in the future)

    • Jim says:

      The potential is certainly there Undeadshaun.
      I found this on the web. A survey carried out by Strathclyde University to increase the potential of pumped storage in the Tummel hydro scheme to
      135Gw of stored energy.

      Hydro potential in Scotland is massive, as there are 9 power stations generating from the same water as it flows downstream, and does not necessarily ‘ruin’ the landscape as anyone who has walked around the Tummel area would see.
      It’s also a huge backup for those days when there is little wind.

      P.S On the Tummel ‘Wiki’ page it notes that back in 1940 when it was first proposed the main objections from the locals were “Loss of landscape, transient labour being used and the economic benefits being sent to England”

      • Luigi says:

        Hydro schemes cause massive environmental damage to river habitats and aquatic wildlife communities. Flow alteration is a big thing. There’s a huge amount of peer reviewed literature on the subject. Every form of energy generation has an environmental cost. Hydro schemes are better than some, but they ain’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination.

        • This is why pumped storage (e.g. for wind power) which doesn’t use natural river systems is a good idea. Just make a new upper and lower reservoir which operate largely independently of natural basin drainage / river systems. Obviously, you will need to top up (dry weather) or release (rain) from time to time, but normal river ecosystems are largely unaffected. Smaller, local pumped storage systems like this make for less impact while also lowering the risk of outages as reliance is not on a few large hydro systems.

        • UndeadShaun says:

          Hydro is a generation type that offers backup to wind, with pumped storage offering the ability to store excess generated power to use later.

          Tidal and wave also offer very good alternatives for when wind levels are low. Currently meygen in the pentland firth is the only large tidal scheme. Hopefully we will see more of these.

          As can be seen if you like me monitor north of Scotlands energy generation sources. Gas is only used at a low amount when hydro and others sources need topped up.

          Wind is sometimes 100%, with hydro kicking in when it drops below 100%

          Contrast with England where its 40 to 50% generated from gas and some areas like southwest seeing up to 80% from gas on some days.

          If we had got CCP awarded to peterhead, gas would have been a lot cleaner than it currently is. We can blame Tory and labour governments for that.

          England is not able to use hydro in the way that Scotland can, but they are being very short sighted in blocking new solar and onshore wind projects.

  12. Welsh_Siôn says:

    Off topic.

    Alister Jack apparently spent the Festive Season in Abertawe/Swansea – EXCLUSIVE.

  13. dakk says:

    Nice Paul.
    Hope you had a decent break.

    And still there are yella,rid, and the at least out in the open blue tory voters who choose to ignore the elephant in the room.All we can do is pick away at the fuckers.

  14. Bob Lamont says:

    On the subject of energy, I was puzzled to note this UK/Science-Environment article loitering on the BBC/Scotland web-page – It’s not clear what propaganda value HMS James Cook hopes to develop from it, but it does not appear on the UK webpage at all

    It’s from Westminster cross party “Environmental Audit Committee”, but what struck me on reading it was the sheer myopia in “The MPs call for more money to be spent on insulation with the target of 2.5m homes being upgraded each year by 2030”.

    I cannot recall who did the analysis many moons ago, but it demonstrated that an intensive national programme of insulating and draught-proofing all UK properties requiring upgrade could see the UK’s energy demand halved within a year.

    An independent Scotland would no longer have to suffer this foot-dragging.
    The advantages are obvious, reduced energy bills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to new record lows, and increase our already massive energy exports considerably.

    • Welsh_Siôn says:

      On the subject of BBC Scotland, the feature “Is Nicola Sturgeon losing her grip on the SNP?” dated 7 December 2022 (i.e. almost a month ago) is STILL on their website.

      Linguistically (and etymologically), I would ask, since when did ‘news’ equate to ‘something old’?

      • Dr Jim says:

        Sad state of affairs for the BBC when they struggle to think up new lies, it could be of course they haven’t been updated by their fat controllers on what to say next

        Tory office junior Sir Keir Starmer apparently agrees with Scottish independence in his speech this morning as he made a particularly strong case for it, his problem with it is the democracy part

        Starmer says he agreed with all the people who wanted to leave the EU to *take back control* but doesn’t agree with it when it comes to Scotland doing the same thing with independence, he only agrees with the principle of democracy not the actual implementation of democracy when it comes to Scotland

        England, a country whose political leaders openly admit they can’t stand on their own two feet without Scotland

      • Capella says:

        OTOH Rishi Sunak’s 5 Pledges has slid way down the running list out of sight. It was only yesterday!
        Time passes quickly in Britain.

      • Bob Lamont says:

        You forget the BBC in Scotland’s access to a Tardis – Old can become new at the flick of a sonic screwdriver and does quite regularly, even when one of their creations is copied to the UK webpage, which must confuse the hell out of English readers more accustomed the Daily Mail slow grinding version of propaganda.

        I mean seriously, just look at BBC Scotland’s Politics webpage for a total distortion as to political issues in Scotland – I just attempted to archive their Scotland page and was notified it was already archived a day ago, what happened to “a week is along time in politics” ?
        Yet look at what is the “current” top 4 in descending order for Scots concerned as to “politics” in the broader sense –
        – The “A&E patients in Scotland enduring ‘inhumane’ conditions” at 2 days old from an un-named “journalist” so probably the Scotland Office – Dr Loughrey’s extrapolation of a study conducted on data from 2016-2018 specifically on England data published in January 2022 mysteriously applied to Scotland in 2023 – Inhumane is HMS James Cook and Dr Loughrey presenting problems from 2016-2018 in England’s NHS pertinent to Scotland’s NHS issues in 2023.
        – The “Brexit: The scorecard two years on” from the BBC’s own man-cloud Brian Fraser 3 days ago, but to be fair he at least he addresses Brexit effects unlike so many of his colleagues.
        – The “MP has SNP whip restored following misconduct ban” at 6 days old, yet another un-named journalist (read SO)
        – The “Top doctor says ‘no way’ Scottish NHS can survive” at 11 days old, the original unattributed journalist (read SO) pastiche on Dr Loughrey’s absurdities per the lead story.

        I shan’t go on, but believe my point is clear, “a week is a long time in politics” never reckoned on James Cook.
        It’s perhaps time this propagandist met up with Sarah Smith in America, we’d be well rid of both.

  15. Alec Lomax says:

    Anyone read Kevin McKenna’s article in the National yesterday? What a hoot ! The guy should do stand-up at the next Edinburgh Fringe.

    • Capella says:

      I read it but didn’t post a link for fear of incurring the wrath of … well, everybody. We need to talk about Kevin. Or maybe not.

    • Dr Jim says:

      Yeah but no but yeah but, whaddya wanna hear, I’ll write it for a quid Kevin McKenna

    • JP58 says:

      There are a few male journalists of a certain (my) age writing some odd columns often at odds with what they previously seemed to believe in. (K McKenna, I McWhirter etc).
      I am not sure whether this is them becoming grumpy old men or adapting their columns to continue to get published in overwhelmingly unionist and right wing press.
      I would suggest retirement before they trash their reputations completely.

  16. Capella says:

    Britain’s priorities. Pathetic. No wonder the BBC haw buried them under a smothering pile of royal fisticuffs. Shock!

    Rishi Sunak makes five pledges for the UK in New Year speech

    The Tory leader had been accused of failing to be visible while the UK deals with the challenges of an overburdened NHS and strikes in several sectors.

    He spoke in east London on Wednesday, pledging: “We will halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, cut waiting lists, and stop the boats.”

    Taking questions from reporters, the Prime Minister said he had decided not to put a time-frame alongside his pledges.

    “What I am being very clear about is what I am prioritising,” he said, emphasising that the five pledges were “priorities”…

    However, Sunak suggested that the results of his apparent effort may not be achieved “overnight, or even in this Parliament”.

  17. England working hard to push the north of Ireland towards reunification. It’s not just us they’re determined to push out of the UK.

    Planned UK cross border travel hurdle ‘highly problematic’: Dublin

    “The UK’s plans to establish an ESTA-type Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme that would apply to non-Irish residents of Ireland and tourists who wish to travel from South to North are highly problematic,” a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a strongly worded statement.

    ESTA is the document that needs to be completed prior to travelling to the US from visa waiver countries.

    “The impact on tourism in Northern Ireland, for example, could be very significant as many tourists arrive in Northern Ireland via this jurisdiction. The Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance and Tourism Ireland have articulated the risks very clearly,” the department said.

    It’s not just going to seriously harm N. Irish EU tourism coming from the south (and let’s face it, English folks don’t go there on holiday, do they), It’s just total nonsense.

    Many homes, farms and business properties straddle the border. Take a trip with google maps. Are folks going to need a visa for a visitor to use the loos or for a worker to go to the other end of a warehouse? It runs down the dashed line in the middle of numerous roads FHS.

    So an Irish guy who meets a polish girl in a pub in Ireland needs to get a visa for her before she can come round to his home in Ireland for a drink? That or only drive on on side of the road?

    And as I’ve noted before, the English imperial Berlin wall in Ireland does not separate Brit from Irish, it separates Irish from Irish. It’s in the totally wrong place. All the border counties are Irish pro-reunification. This is England putting up walls between Irish people in their own homeland again. No wonder Europe doesn’t want their Trump wall building e**ehole of a government anywhere near the top tables again.

  18. Eilidh says:

    Well I see the Tory scum have done it -disgraceful. What is the point of the Scottish Parliamrnt. The bigots on The National comments will be pleased so will the ultra feminists.
    BBC News – UK government to block Scottish gender bill

    • Eilidh says:

      Where is their proof this breaches the Equality Act. There is none I hope this goes to challenge in the Supreme Court but no doubt their mates there will back the Tories. Next the Tories will be getting rid of whatever they feel like in Scottish legislation passed by our parliament

  19. Ken says:

    The Tories will not have time to do anything. The count down is beginning. A few months.

    £159Billion is spent on the NHS in the UK, £16Billion + social care in Scotland. One of the biggest spends. 1/4 of the budget. £270Billion Covid funding. £370Billion ‘over a life time’. Scotland did not get £27Billion for parity. UK Gov Accounts 2019/20. The Tories cut the NHS funding £20Billion from 2015 to 2020. Instead of increasing it. £2,5Billion on private healthcare is a small proportion. It does not cover long term illness or critical conditions. A higher waste of funding, Higher contributions. Than a Public Health Service. Better value for monies and more successful outcomes. Supported by the public. Saving lives every day. Pay proper remuneration. It is affordable. Instead of grotesque projects of little or no value. .

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