Scottish independence: SNP target energy regulation

An independent Scotland is to have an expert commission on energy regulation, the energy minister has announced.

The commission hopes to find the best operation model for the gas and electricity industry post independence. Picture: PA

The commission, to be chaired by energy lawyer Robert Armour, will be tasked with finding options for consideration in finding the best operation model for the gas and electricity industry post independence.

It will explore various issues such as; the role of a Scottish regulator; how an independent Scotland can efficiently participate in an integrated GB-market and how to promote fairer energy prices and improve energy efficiency.

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This work will build on proposals set out in the Scottish Government document Economic and Competition Regulation in an Independent Scotland, published in February this year.

The commission is to produce interim findings to inform the Scottish Government’s White Paper on independence in autumn 2013 and a full report by the end of the year.

Scottish Government proposals show that an independent Scotland would look to continue a market for electricity and gas across Great Britain with Scotland gaining greater control over regulatory, fiscal and legislative aspects.

A new strategic partnership with the rest of the UK on energy would also be sought according to the Scottish Government.

Mr Ewing said: “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.”

Robert Armour, chairman of the expert commission, said: “Investment in low carbon generation and a modern grid, delivering meaningful advances in energy efficiency and tackling the growing problem of fuel poverty all depend on a clear, coherent and consistent policy environment.

“The Energy Expert Commission will draw on the extensive expertise of its diverse membership and the lessons from models in other jurisdictions in giving independent and considered views on what will deliver most for Scotland in the coming decades.

“The Commission welcomes evidence and submissions from parties interested in delivering the best outcomes for Scotland’s energy future.”