Scotland May Get Separate Climate Goal to U.K. on Independence

Scotland would have a separate European Union renewable-energy target if it became independent from the U.K., according to its government.

“There would have to be some decomposition, if you like, of the U.K.’s target into a Scottish equivalent as Scotland would become part of the European Union,” David Wilson, director for energy and climate change at the Scottish government, said. “That would be for negotiation between Scotland and the U.K. government and if necessary with Europe.”

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, leader of the semi-autonomous government in Edinburgh, wants to call a referendum on independence from the U.K. in 2014. The U.K, which also includes England and Wales, has to get 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 under European Union law.

That target would likely remain the same overall, Wilson told a panel of lawmakers. “But how it’s allocated between Scotland and the rest of U.K. would have to be a matter for negotiation” and could result in an increase of Scotland’s contribution, he said. “We would be happy to take 15 percent and the rest of the U.K. takes 15 percent,” he said.

Scotland has its own national targets including generating 100 percent of its electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020. It also plans to achieve a 42 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and an 80 percent cut by 2050.

‘We wouldn’t expect that trajectory to change,” Wilson said, though there may be some “statistical” work required, he said.

The U.K. will need Scotland’s clean power in an integrated energy market to “keep the lights” on and meet clean power goals, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said during the same U.K. parliamentary Committee on Energy and Climate Change.

“Our preference is to continue with a U.K. integrated energy market. That is really almost a necessity under the EU framework under which we operate,” he said.

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