For many unionists, Scotland’s a political and economic basket case. Why then, they should ask themselves, does the British Establishment want to keep hold of Scotland?
After all, many senior Tories eagerly await a border poll in Ireland, so they can get shot of the six counties. Of course, there’s the geopolitical implications with the threat to status, never mind a seat on the UN Security Council, as well as the loss of their grouse moors and Highland estates.
But it’s equally to do with Scotland’s natural resources. Oil and gas have been pivotal to the UK economy for two generations now and are again seen as a saviour despite some constantly telling Scots it’s valueless or gone.
Now there’s also onshore renewable energy, but also especially offshore. Recent answers from the UK Government disclose the abundance of energy that Scotland produces and that’s only going to grow exponentially in scale and in value. That an energy-rich Scotland sees so many Scots in fuel poverty is not only perverse but the price of the Union.
Scotland’s domestic electricity supply is largely provided by renewables, often amounting to 100 per cent in the north and, in 2020, Scotland produced the equivalent of 97 per cent of its electricity consumption from renewables. That’s even before the huge capacity of offshore really begins to grow and come ashore.
Let’s put that in context. A terawatt-hour is a billion kilowatt-hours, while the standard energy consumption of a kettle’s 24 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month, a tumble dryer 48kWh per month and a washing machine 36kWh a week. The average household consumption in Scotland’s 3,700/4,000 kWh.
There’s a difference between energy storage and energy use but the figures are still massive. Even at the moment, we often produce far more than we consume. The energy is then exported south but do we get any benefit from that? Cheaper electricity? Not on your life. Payment for the energy exported? That’ll be right. Business and jobs created? “Where?” you ask.
The cables being created between Peterhead and Torness to northern England will transmit four TWh in their first year. Berwick Bank in the Firth of Forth will alone produce 4.1 gigawatts (4,100,000 kW) with 40 per cent cabled directly south to Northumberland.
A recent answer from the UK Energy Department disclosed that 35 TWh was expected to have been sent south in 2021 and that is anticipated to increase to 124 TWh in 2030. That 35 TWh is enough to supply electricity to all of Scotland’s 2.5 million homes three and a half times over, yet our folk have been huddling for warmth, unable to heat their homes. And 124 TWh (or 124 billion kilowatt-hours) would do it more than 12 times over.
It’s not just that so many Scots are going without when in a land of such plenty, there’s the value that might well come to dwarf the income from our oil and gas. It’s huge, worth billions and that will only increase as renewables take over from fossil fuels, but we’re missing out. We’re a playground to enjoy and a resource to exploit. Our energy resource provides 124 billion reasons for independence.