First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond, the leader of
Scotland's separatist movement. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Britain has warned Scots that voting for independence
would put jobs and investment in the Scottish energy industry
at risk, threatening the commercial viability of North Sea oil
and gas fields and renewable energy projects.
In September Scotland will hold an referendum on whether to
sever its 307-year tie with England, with Scottish
nationalists arguing that a split would give them greater
The British government wants to keep the union intact and has
produced a series of analysis papers arguing its case on
issues such as the currency, security and finance.
The latest paper, due to be released on Wednesday, will say
that independence would deter investment in low-carbon
renewable energy and make it unprofitable for firms to
extract increasingly hard-to-reach oil and gas in the seas
"I fear the economic and energy progress will be seriously
affected by the uncertainty and disruption of independence,
as investors will hold onto their cash rather than risk it,"
Energy Secretary Ed Davey said ahead of the report's release.
A government briefing note said that Britain's wide tax base
meant it could afford to offer incentives which made it
profitable for firms to tap into dwindling oil and gas
reserves, generating investment and creating thousands of
It also said Scotland accounted for 10 percent of electricity
sales in Britain, but received 28 percent of consumer-funded
subsidies that support renewable energy.
"The reality of independence is that Scottish low carbon
energy is unlikely to be able to rely on the current levels
of financial support provided by all UK energy bill payers,"
the briefing note said.
The government also warned that an independent Scotland would
have to compete with other countries to sell electricity into
England and Wales.
Speaking earlier on Tuesday Alex Salmond, the
pro-independence leader of the Scottish National Party, said
Scotland was the most energy-rich nation in the European
Union on a per-head basis.
"Independence would give responsibility for Scotland's
natural resources to the people who are most likely to
harness them wisely - the people who live and work in
Scotland," he said.
"It would allow us to adopt policies which meet our
priorities and specialisms. That would benefit Scotland, and
it would also benefit our energy industry."