AN independent Scotland would establish a state energy company to help the country become self-sufficient in its supplies, drive down carbon emissions and allow the creation of a sovereign wealth fund, according to proposals which have been submitted to the SNP conference.

The plans would see the publicly owned corporation specialise in renewable energy and recruit people from the oil and gas sector as the fossil fuel industry is wound down.

They have been sent by the SNP’s Isle of Arran branch to a party committee tasked with drawing up the agenda for the conference, to be held virtually in mid-September, after being developed by the party’s policy development committee.

They also follow previous backing by Nicola Sturgeon for a state energy company.

The First Minister said in 2017 the Scottish government is to set up a publicly-owned, not-for-profit energy company.

She told the party's conference that the company will sell energy to customers at "as close to cost price as possible".

She said it would be set up by 2021, and would give people - particularly on low incomes - more choice of which supplier to use.

The Scottish Government said the plans in 2017 were halted because of the pandemic and that Holyrood would be given an update on the proposals later.

The author of the new resolution Colin Milne is a former Royal Navy officer who spent 18 years as a North Sea helicopter pilot supporting the offshore oil and gas industry.

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He said Scotland should follow other energy rich countries in having its own state energy company with the revenues from the enterprise funding a sovereign wealth fund which would guarantee the financial future of the Scottish people.

The largest oil companies in the world by revenue are state-owned with most located in the Middle East, China, Russia and South America.

They include Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia), Rosneft (Russia), and China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) which is the world’s highest revenue producing state oil company.

Norway’s state energy company is Equinor, formerly known as Statoil. The Government Pension Fund of Norway was established in 1990 and is currently worth in the region of £1 trillion.

The largest oil companies in the world by revenue are state-ownedThe Mongstad refinery in Norway. Photo: Equinor

Milne said if Scotland achieved similar revenues to Norway and invested 20% of them per annum into a sovereign wealth fund, it should be possible to achieve a £50 billion fund in 10 years. He said the fund could be invested in the transition away from oil and gas into renewables, energy storage like pumped storage hydro schemes, tidal stream turbine projects, carbon capture and hydrogen production for fuel cell vehicles like the buses running in Aberdeen.

The resolution welcomes the COP26 conference coming to Scotland in November and notes the Scottish Government’s strategy to achieve net-zero by 2045 saying it must put in place a detailed plan and timetable to manage the rundown of Scotland’s fossil fuel resources and the transition to a net-zero carbon future.

It states: “Conference believes an essential step towards reaching the 2045 net-zero target will be the establishment of a Scottish State Energy Company upon achieving independence.

“This Company should be a publicly owned commercial energy company specialising in renewable energy, carbon capture, and oil and gas production with the following aims:

- To maximise the benefit of Scotland’s energy resources to Scotland’s people.

- To maximise production of renewable energy to ensure Scotland becomes completely self-sufficient and earns further revenue by exporting excess capacity.

- To maximise energy storage by hydro pump storage and hydrogen production.

- To maximise carbon capture and storage making full use of Scotland’s depleted oil and gas fields for secure permanent storage.

- To manage the decline of Scotland’s extensive oil and gas reserves for the benefit of Scotland’s people.

- To foster diversification into a hydrogen economy by progressing from production of blue hydrogen (CO extraction from hydrocarbons) to green hydrogen (H2O electrolysis) using excess electricity capacity.

- To retain in Scotland a skilled workforce to support these industries which are vital to our national energy sovereignty.”

The proposal is one of several resolutions submitted to the SNP’s conference and revealed by the The National.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Work on a planned public energy company was halted during the pandemic. As announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport in June, ministers will now focus government efforts on a new dedicated national public energy agency.

"This will coordinate and accelerate delivery of heat and energy efficiency work, inform and educate the public on the changes required, provide expert advice to national and local government, and work with public, private and third sector partners to deliver this transformative national project. Further details will be set out to Parliament in due course.”