There is a growing list of examples of Westminster’s influences and actions on energy and ‘net zero’ issues that are not in Scotland’s best interests and certainly not within Scotland’s democratic control!
This first example is of course more than a little ironic! On 20 October 2021, there were press reports of Sir Ian Wood commenting on Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS): ‘Acorn Project: Sir Ian Wood urges UK to rethink carbon capture snub’.
This is the context of the Acorn Project to be based at the St Fergus gas terminal in Aberdeenshire. However, sites on the Humber and Liverpool were chosen in the first round of funding for the UK Government’s £1 billion CCUS scheme, with the Scottish site considered a “reserve”. Back then Wood stated: ‘“AT THE VERY LEAST I urge the UK Government to reconsider their decision and add a third cluster to the Track 1 programme which should undoubtedly be the excellent Scottish bid.” (my emphasis)
A Unionist of influence? Well it seems not. On 19 March 2023, Wood is again commenting on the Acorn CCUS project. This from the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce:
‘Sir Ian welcomed the commitment to support carbon capture, but he URGED THE UK GOVERNMENT TO CONFIRM, AS A PRIORITY, that the Acorn project will benefit from this funding.’
‘He said the announcement of the CCUS funding in the (latest) Budget was welcome – even though there was NO SPECIFIC MENTION OF THE ST FERGUS SCHEME FROM the chancellor last Wednesday. Acorn – the backbone of a wider Scottish “cluster” of carbon-capture initiatives – is currently only a reserve project after it missed out on track-one status.’
‘The leading enterpreneur told the Press & Journal: “Removing its reserve status and allowing it to move forward will unlock billions of pounds of private-sector investment, support significant new job creation across the north-east of Scotland and help ensure the UK accelerates toward meeting net-zero targets.”
However, Sir Iain did not end his negative criticisms of Scotland’s energy and related prospects due to UK government policies: ‘.. Sir Ian said the chancellor’s failure to apply a price floor for the windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas producers was “disappointing”.
‘He added: “This policy is CREATING AN ADVERSE ENVIRONMENT FOR INVESTMENT AND JOBS precisely at the time we need to be maximising domestic energy security. We must have a more-stable fiscal regime to incentivise this which will, in turn, allow us to accelerate our energy-transition ambition.”
So it’s Westminster policy – from a government we didn’t vote for (again) that is critically influencing the development of Scotland’s energy resources. It’s a long list:
– on pump storage investment (as in the main blog post)
– on CCUS investments
– on where and when investments in establishing the new hydrogen economy will take place
– on energy pricing for domestic and business users
– on network transmission charges
– on taxation on energy producers, including windfall tax
– on where Scotland’s renewable energy from offshore wind is being taken – notably to the north of England
– and now moves to push nuclear power generation rather than marine renewable sources more appropriate for Scotland’s needs.
There may be other examples. However, the nature, scale and importance of all this cannot be underestimated. The development of Scotland’s indigenous energy assets are on a cusp: decisions being taken now will have ramifications for decades to come.
Big strategic development decisions are being taken in Westminster on Scotland’s behalf: we have little agency. And they are being taken not only by a government – but also within a political ‘system’ – which AS A MATTER OF (UNIONIST) PRINCIPLE does not want Scotland to have agency on matters of such importance to the future of our children and grandchildren and beyond!
6 thoughts on “A growing list of examples of Westminster’s actions on energy not in Scotland’s best interests”
Slightly OT to your point Stewart – The myopia of London politicians always remind me of an interview IIRC with the Chairman of BSA, who declared there was no reason to fear the Japanese motorbike industry as British motorcyclists had no need for indicators or electric starters, a year or so before BSA went bust.
THAT is the British disease which not only survived but pervades today in Brexit Britain.
The myopia of politicians in making all to do with energy London-centric has everything to do with retaining total control and siphoning bungs to party coffers rather than the welfare of the nation let alone the planet being paramount.
I watched an interesting C4 video piece on the latest IPCC report https://www.channel4.com/news/climate-scientists-give-survival-guide-for-humanity-in-landmark-un-report which featured a segment on Swaffam Prior in Cambridgeshire where a village ground and air source pumping system had provided heat to the entire village – All good but to the elephant in the room, where does the electrical power coming from ?
Yet what appalled me most was Alex Thomson’s ‘off the cuff’ remark on production “…and so much heat home insulation is no big deal” even though I understood the angle he was coming from.
England could have halved it’s energy requirements a decade or more ago were in not for politicians interfering on the basis of dogmatic positions on “the market”.
With South England heading for it’s worst drought in history and needing ROs all over the place which require vast amounts of energy, how on earth do you push London politicians toward thinking “Coire Glas” might be a smart thing to do ?
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WATS NEW THEY HAVE ROBBED AND SQUIRRELLED AWAY OUR GAS , OIL
AND ALL THE REVENUES FROM THEM
AND THATS NOT INCLUDING. ALL OF OUR OTHER NATURAL RESOURCES
THEY ARE AND HAVE BEEN ROBBING SCOTLAND
AS THEY ROBBED ALL COMMONWEALTH COUNTRIES
DICK TURPIN HAS MANY RELATIVES HIDING IN ENGLAND
I had a quick look at them debating the Budget its amazing but I should not be surprised to hear them all speak about this country when all the time it is England they mean time.
Sooner we are out this corrupt so called Union the better.
As previously commented.
Just when will one of these multi billion pound companies take Westminster to court because carbon capture, and or electricity generation are being discriminated against in relation to their peers. Or because they (waistemonster) are contravening the (hated) internal market legislation. By charging Scottish electric generators far in excess of the english generators for connecting to and supplying the grid.
And the rest
Was stunned to read this headlining as “FactCheck: SNP energy bills claim ‘doesn’t ring true’, says Ofgem” on C4, and written by Helen Johnson – https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/factcheck-snp-energy-bills-claim-doesnt-ring-true-says-ofgem
The stand out facts are
“FactCheck has not been able to verify the figure stated in The Herald, and it’s not clear how the paper has reached the stat. It’s possible that the calculation does make sense, but we haven’t seen the paper’s working, so we can’t say either way.”
everything else comes from HMG or Ofgem..