David Cameron claims investing in Scotland’s green energy is ‘too dangerous’

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By a Newsnet reporter

UK PM David Cameron has warned companies that investing in Scotland’s renewables industry is ‘too dangerous’ because of the independence referendum.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Cameron claimed that Scotland’s green potential could not be realised unless Scotland continued to be governed by Westminster.

Mr Cameron said: “A major financial institution warned yesterday of the dangers of investing in Scotland while this uncertainty about the future of the constitution is underway and I think it very important that we keep our United Kingdom together.

“And we stress that when it comes to vital industries like Green technology the combination of a Green investment bank sponsored by the United Kingdom government and the many natural advantages there are in Scotland can actually make this a great industry for people in Scotland.

“But we will only do that if we keep our country together.”

The Tory PM was responding to a report from a London based financial institution that warned against investing in Scotland’s green-energy sector.  The investment firm Citigroup had claimed that Scotland was too small to support its vast renewables sector if it became independent and that the nation would face having to subsidise the industry to the tune of £4 billion.

The attacks on Scotland’s fledgling renewable energy sector by London come as First Minister Alex Salmond is currently visiting oil rich nations in the Gulf region in an effort to secure investment and business opportunities for Scotland’s energy sector.

Yesterday Abu Dhabi’s state oil company Taqa announced it was investing £630 million in Scotland’s north sea sector.  Today Scottish renewables confirmed that a further £ ¾ billion had already been committed by firms such as Mitsubishi, Doosan, Samsung, Gamesa, Repsol and others.

Read the book!

Responding to claims from Citigroup that Scotland could not support its green energy sector without help from London, First Minister Alex Salmond suggested that doubters should “read the book”.

Speaking on Good Morning Scotland Mr Salmond said: “It’s not Citigroup who are doing the investing in Scottish renewables luckily, it’s the companies which are investing.

“We don’t need a crystal ball in this, just read the book in the last few months – Mitsubishi, Doosan, Samsung, Gamesa, Repsol – the world’s great industrial combines are committing billions of pounds of investment in Scottish renewables.”

Mr Salmond described the Citigroup analyst who had urged against investing in Scotland as having had a “brainstorm” and pointed out that Scotland was not generating power for the sole use of Scotland but was readying itself for the already emerging export market, especially to England.

Mr Salmond added: “I think to be fair to the Citigroup analyst, and we’re talking about a market analyst, he’s caught the wrong end of the stick.

“He seems to think the investment in offshore renewables in Scotland is to service the Scottish market, it’s not, it’s to service the market down south.

“The people who are analysing and actually spending the money, these major industrial combines know two things; Firstly in order to get anywhere near their renewable energy obligations … England is going to have to have Scottish renewables from the sea.

“Secondly … in ten years’ time, without Scottish offshore wind power, then there would be a severe danger of the lights going off in England and I don’t think anybody’s going to want or allow that to happen.

Mr Salmond added: “Believe me in the modern world the ability to produce power is a great asset, not a liability.”

Mr Cameron’s decision to use the report in order to warn against investment in Scotland’s green-energy sector follows the recent decision by the UK coalition to scrap the Longannet Carbon Storage scheme.  The £1.3 billion project was abandoned earlier this month when the UK Treasury refused to invest a further £300 million.

The Scottish government criticised the move calling it “sabotage” and pointed out the total funding required was a mere ten per cent of one years’ cash flow from Scotland’s oil and gas sector.