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Scotland and the UK energy markets

By Fionn O'Raghallaigh on 18-Sep-2014

The future of Scotland is up for grabs on Thursday as voters decide if it should remain  part of the UK or go solo. The ramifications for a yes vote are huge, as the debate in the media has shown.

Currency has been one of the big points of debate, with the yes side arguing Scotland would get to keep the pound. What power and gas markets might look like if Scotland cedes has taken a similar line to the currency debate. The Scottish National Party has proposed keeping the status quo, with the current arrangements for gas and power continuing. In the case of yes vote, the Westminster government say trading arrangements similar to those the UK has with continental Europe would be put in place.

So what the market or markets on the island of Britain will look like is uncertain and would depend on the outcome of negotiations that would follow a yes vote. If the Scottish argument in favour of an energy partnership were to win the day, there is precedent close to home the negotiators could look to for inspiration. The island of Ireland has a single electricity market. The euro is the dominant currency, even though the pound is used in Northern Ireland. The market is overseen by regulators and system operators from both sides of the border, and the governments of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland as well as the UK can get involved in decisions.

But for clearer picture of what the future looks like, we’ll need to know what the result first and the framework that could emerge once all the political posturing is done.

For more on the what Scottish independence could mean for the UK energy markets, listen to this podcast.