‘It’s Scotland’s wind!’ the next SNP war cry now that oil has become an ecological affront?
It’s Scotland’s wind! I don’t expect we’ll see that slogan from the SNP in future elections (or referendums) as oil figured in the 1970s one, before it began to run out and also become an ecological affront. It’s currently at just over half the price – $68 a barrel – which, in 2014, economist Andrew Wilson predicted in the White Paper would have a robust and “baked-in price” of $112. Which only goes to prove that economics is too important to be left to economists.
But wind is different. It may be subject to seasonal fluctuations but I can’t see there being a trade in wind futures. It has, of course, become an integral part of Scotland’s future – and present – with a smidgeon over 97 per cent of our energy now coming from renewable sources, largely the breeze. We’re fortunate – although it doesn’t often seem so – to live in the windiest country in Europe and have more sea around us than others to stick those turbines into.
Thursday night’s Channel 4 News, the grown-ups’ news show, came from the the country’s largest one, Whitelee Windfarm on Eaglesham Moor, and the thrust of the programme was anticipating November’s climate change conference in Glasgow, which is being billed, yet again, as the most crucial in our history.
Scotland is self-sufficient in energy. Indeed, we export to England and the rest of the UK through the National Grid. About 20% of production (it has been as high as 29%) goes south. What would happen if Scotland becomes independent (a big if) and is part of the EU (a bigger if)? Do we disconnect from the grid and have our own? Have a big coin meter on the hard border from Berwick and into the Solway Firth? Put up the price for the south?
Boris Johnson, who knows a thing or two about wind, said Scotland could become the “Saudi Arabia” of it. One way or another the subject is going to be on the agenda long after the private jets have departed Glasgow Airport after November’s summit.