Scotland's renewable energy bonanza should lead to cheaper bills – Angus Robertson
Scotland has won the natural resource lottery twice. We have benefitted from oil reserves for decades and, now, various forms of renewables.
Scotland produces a remarkable amount of renewable electricity. In 2022, 82 per cent of the electricity that Scotland consumed came from low-carbon sources, with almost two-thirds from renewable sources. According to the UK Government, nearly 40 per cent of Scotland’s energy has been exported to England and Northern Ireland, and in 2021, Scotland’s electricity network accounted for almost 52 per cent of the UK total.
However, Scottish energy bills are, on average, much higher than those in the rest of the UK. For such an energy-rich nation, it’s unacceptable. With the UK Government’s energy support payments to end this month, bills are set to rise by 20 per cent in April.
Energy Action Scotland has said a quarter of households, over 600,000, are struggling with energy costs and called on the UK Government to give further help. They say that if the UK Government’s price guarantee were to rise to £3000 in April, up to a million of Scotland's 2.48 million households would face fuel poverty (when ten per cent or more of household income is spent on fuel needs and remaining household income can’t support a basic standard of living).
This is particularly acute for those not on mains gas who rely on other fuels or electricity. But the UK Government can put in place targeted support for rural areas with higher bills and regulate energy companies’ prices. Given the world is pivoting away from Russian energy and fossil fuels, we need to re-imagine the energy market so it fairly benefits all.