England’s lights would go out without Scotland’s large and growing supply of renewable energy, according to Scotland’s energy minister.
Fergus Ewing hit back after the UK energy secretary, Ed Davey, said independence for Scotland would force up energy bills for Scottish households.
“England does require Scotland’s electricity to keep the lights on,” Ewing told the Guardian. He gave the go-ahead on Wednesday for the third largest offshore wind farm in the world, big enough to power 1m homes, as well as new financial support for floating wind turbines to exploit deep water sites.
Ewing, a Scottish National Party minister, contrasted the 20% spare electricity margin in Scotland with the 2-5% margin in the UK as a whole. “The reality is that the supplies of electricity in the UK, especially down south, are parlously tight. There have been successive warnings by Ofgem, the regulator, and it is difficult to see the response to those warnings as anything other than a serial failure to come up with any coherent strategic response,” he said. “On a security of supply basis, England will require to receive imports of Scotland’s electricity for most of the time.”