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By Martin Kelly
A report highlighting possible power shortages across the UK has blown a major hole in scaremongering claims that an independent would be unable to sell its massive surplus of electricity the SNP has said.
The report, by energy regulator Ofgem, has warned that spare power capacity could fall to just 2% in coming years leading to an increased risk of power cuts.
The report also claims that the risk of blackouts from lack of supply has increased dramatically since their last report from once in every forty seven years to one in every four years, if reductions in demand are not achieved.
Andrew Wright, Ofgem's Chief Executive, said: "Ofgem's latest report on electricity security of supply highlights the need for reform to encourage investment in generation. This is why Ofgem welcomes DECC's commitment to introduce a capacity market that will provide a longer term solution to this problem at a time when Britain's energy industry is facing an unprecedented challenge to secure supplies.
"Ofgem's analysis indicates a faster than anticipated tightening of electricity margins toward the middle of this decade. Ofgem, together with DECC and National Grid, think it is prudent to consider giving National Grid additional tools now to procure electricity supplies to protect consumers as the margin between available supply and demand tightens in the mid-decade."
The SNP has seized on the report as evidence that Scotland will continue to export electricity south of the border after independence. Currently Scotland exports 26% of electricity generated, the key role played by Scotland in keeping the rest of the UK’s lights on will become even more important in years ahead as the capacity gap narrows the nationalists have insisted.
According to the SNP, Ofgem’s report effectively undermines claims by anti-independence politicians that the rest of the UK would not want to purchase electricity from an independent Scotland. Without electricity from Scotland, the risk of blackouts in the rest of the UK would increase significantly.
Commenting, SNP MSP Chic Brodie who sits on the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee said:
"This paper has revealed just how tight the gap between electricity capacity and demand is set to become and makes a mockery of claims that the rest of the UK would not continue to buy electricity produced in Scotland after a Yes vote.
"The energy resources that Scotland is home to are absolutely essential to keeping the lights on in the rest of the UK and this report from Ofgem shows why they will only become ever more vital in the years ahead.
"It blows a major hole in some of the more outlandish scaremongering we have heard from anti-independence politicians when it comes to energy, and has severely undermined their credibility.
"The fact is that the rest of the UK needs Scotland’s electricity and that will still be the case after a Yes vote in next year’s referendum. Maintaining a shared energy market between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK is simply good sense for everyone concerned.
"Scotland’s rapidly growing renewable energy supply is absolutely integral to maintaining a secure supply of electricity south of the border and today’s report means that fact is indisputable."
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:
"Ofgem’s warnings about an even tighter gap between electricity capacity and electricity generation highlight the increasing importance of Scotland’s energy sector to the rest of the UK – illustrating the importance of an all GB market – especially as we know that many of our European neighbours face similar issues in terms of lack of generating capacity.
"Ofgem have previously asked whether GB’s lights will stay on – and you can see why given their latest capacity assessment. Scotland’s energy is an increasingly necessary part of ensuring that the lights don’t go out.
"It also demonstrates that claims from Ed Davey about not wanting Scottish renewables post-independence are nothing more that scaremongering, and that the real issue here has been mismanagement of UK energy policy.
"Last year saw the green energy industry bring around £1.3 billion of investment to Scotland, enhancing energy security and delivering jobs and benefit to Scotland’s communities."
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