Friday 25 July 2014

Switching Votes And Policies

The mail today had the July Newsletter from Scotland's People, the internet service for the study of genealogy and family history.  This time, though, rather than in the Inbox it was sent to Junk with a warning.  This was "Be careful!  This sender has failed our fraud detection checks."

It is easy to understand why.  The amount of specious clatter, nonsense and wishful thinking, apart from the routine deceits over the coming Referendum may well lead to the view that all material on the subject might have the same warning.

From Westminster this morning we are told that the Coalition Five Year Plan for the economy had reached its targets for which we must thank the wisdom of Osborne firm comrade and loyal ally of our Great Leader Cameron.

All we are missing are the organised crowds of weeping joyful and happy workers, or given the real figures, non workers, parading past Conservative Central Office with our Leader and his team waving and smiling from the balcony.  Clegg and any Lib Dem's will be airbrushed out of the pictures.

Alas, we live in a globalised, networked and very interconnected world in which we are but minor entities with limited or scant influence on what does happen and even less on what will happen.  One thing is certain and that is energy is crucial and that means oil and gas.

The pricing and supply of oil is a major interest to the site Our Finite World and this long and serious article on world oil production sets out what seems to be the latest possibilities in this complex and intricate area of study.  Anyone making predictions of any sort will need to be aware that it is easier to be wrong than right.

An attempt to analyse what is the energy situation in Scotland is made by Euan Mearns in Energy Matters in another long article trying to grapple with the detail in the ebb and flow of what passes for policy.  He is not optimistic.  He concludes:


Renewable Obligation Certificates or ROCs are the consumer paid subsidies to the renewable energy producers. In 2012, Scotland had 44% of UK wind capacity. The ROCs payable were met by the whole UK population of 63 million.

With independence it seems likely that 5.3 million Scottish consumers will have to pay the subsidies on electricity generated in Scotland.

That would imply a 5.2 fold uplift in the per capita level of subsidy payments on 2012 levels of production (63/5.3*44%). Come 2020, the energy plan calls for a 5 fold uplift in wind capacity and that would hence result in a 25 fold uplift in the per capita subsidy payments in 2020 relative to 2012.

Wikipedia suggests that the cost of a ROC in 2012 was roughly 0.5p per KWh. In essence, an independent Scotland may have to service 25 times as many ROCs as today (many more KWh of renewable power) that needs to be compared with electricity price of about 17p / KWh. Scottish electricity prices could be set to double.

The SNP have said they want the single electricity market to continue along with the single currency and you can see why. I cannot think of a single reason why English consumers would want to pay subsidies to Scottish renewable electricity producers should Scotland elect to go it alone.

This seems like a recipe for disaster and the details of this certainly need to be clarified before the vote. I don’t see any way that Scottish domestic and commercial consumers could bear such a burden and one possible unintended consequence of a yes vote might therefore be the abolition of ROCs and the collapse of the energy plan.


Anyone want a windmill, or even a wind farm, going cheap?  You will need to do your fraud check first.

No comments:

Post a Comment