To summarise, the main points in this paper are:
- Based on current projections for future North Sea oil and gas revenues, establishing an oil fund for Scotland would bring substantial economic benefits to Scotland.
- An oil fund could be used to enable management of sustainable financial resources, to allow revenue to be converted into a pool of renewable assets, generating long term wealth after oil and gas reserves have been exhausted.
- Greater responsibility over energy matters would allow Scotland to better develop our vast renewable and low carbon industries.
- In order to improve energy efficiency, which is one of the main ways to reduce carbon use, the Scottish Parliament could use increased responsibilities to develop programmes which are appropriate to the specific geographical and climate needs of Scotland.
- Taking the recommendations of the Commission on Scottish Devolution into consideration also begs the question of how to cooperate with the wider UK on energy matters, without adequate responsibilities.
While considerable progress has been made in the regulation of the Scottish energy market, and indeed in the development of the sector, there are still problems with the current system. To make energy markets work better for Scottish consumers and developers and the Scottish economy overall, a range of measures need to be introduced ranging from grid infrastructure development, improved energy efficiency measures, to a changing fiscal regime. The system could be improved with greater rights and responsibilities for the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government.
In areas such as energy efficiency, where the Scottish Government currently has some, if restricted powers, we can point to creative and flexible approaches to dealing with some long-standing problems and challenges. Gaining additional powers would allow us to adopt this to other areas of energy policy to bring about the changes we want to see.