Scots Independence Is Risk for Clean-Energy Projects, BNEF Says

Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) — Scottish independence threatens to
discourage renewable-energy investments and delay decisions on
projects because of uncertainty over regulation and support from
a new administration, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“The No. 1 priority for Europe’s energy sector is to
achieve higher levels of market and technical integration, to
balance variable renewable energy generation,” Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board for the London-based
researcher, said today. “Any change that threatens that,
especially if it creates a long period of uncertainty, is a step
in the wrong direction.”

Activists are fanning out across Scotland in the final
countdown to a Sept. 18 referendum, with the pro-independence
“yes” and pro-union “no” campaigns both saying they’re
poised to win. Scotland has about 5.7 gigawatts of approved
projects, representing more than $12 billion of investment, BNEF
said in a report. Even before a possible “yes” vote, project
delays mean Scotland is unlikely to meet its 2020 target to get
all its electricity from clean sources, according to the report.

The country currently gets almost half of its electricity
from renewables.

Scotland has “huge energy resources and potential and long
established commitments to support the development of a range of
technologies,” the regional government said last month. The
U.K.’s “complex and slow moving” energy-market policy changes
were the sole cause of any investment delays, it said.

England and Wales imported less than 4 percent of their
power consumption from Scotland in 2012, compared with 4.7
percent from Europe, the BNEF report showed. Scotland may be
more reliant on England and Wales as a customer for its power
than England and Wales are on Scotland as a generator, BNEF
said.

“Our concern is that in the event of a ‘yes’ vote, there
could be a loss of momentum as investors worry about the likely
price and market for electricity their projects could
generate,” said Angus McCrone, a senior analyst for BNEF.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Louise Downing in London at
ldowning4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
landberg@bloomberg.net
Tony Barrett, Randall Hackley

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