THE energy crisis is an “excellent example” of why Scotland needs independence, Lorna Slater has said.

The Scottish Greens co-leader said that Scotland has the potential to produce its own renewable energy, but is limited in the powers needed to create key infrastructure to allow for self-sufficiency.

Speaking to The National ahead of the Party’s conference in Edinburgh this weekend, Slater said that the energy crisis is due to a lack of investment in renewable infrastructure by the UK Government.

And, co-leader Patrick Harvie said he was looking forward to an “extraordinary and momentous” party conference, as members are set to celebrate their biggest election win and having two Green ministers in government for the first time.

It comes as 14 million households in the UK are set to see a “significant rise” in their energy bills when the price cap review is held in February, according to the boss of energy regulator Ofgem.

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Energy bills are also expected to rocket this winter for consumers whose fixed-term contracts are coming to an end.

Experts at Cornwall Insight have suggested the current level of £1277 per year for an average household could rise to £1559 per year in 2022.

Slater previously argued in an article in The National in June that Scotland urgently needs a public energy company.

SNP members backed the policy at their conference last month, but the issue was dropped from the Scottish Government’s agenda. The National asked if Slater is still pushing for the policy in government and if she still supports it.

She said: “The matter around the energy prices rises exactly points out why we shouldn’t be dependent on oil and gas, and certainly not on gas that Vladimir Putin has his fingers on the tap of – the volatility in prices and availability of oil and gas is exactly why we shouldn’t be using it.

“It’s a really good example of why Scotland should be producing our own renewable energy, we certainly have the potential to.

“Unfortunately because we don’t have all the powers we need to build our own grid infrastructure or even install our own export cables for that energy, we are not able to be fully self-sufficient with our own energy – with a reliable energy supply that wouldn’t have this kind of price spike situation.

“So the reason we are where we are is because of a lack of UK government investment in renewable infrastructure and building a stable base of renewable electricity – instead we are kept dependent on foreign gas.

“It’s an excellent example of why we need to change our energy model, but also why we need Scottish independence.”

It comes as the co-leaders are set to face their party members in person for the first time since their historic win, which saw the election of eight MSPs to Holyrood, and the entering into a momentous cooperation agreement with the SNP.

Slater said that the conference will be a “time of celebration” and an opportunity for MSPs to thank members for their hard work.

She said: “This is the culmination of 30 years of work by our volunteers and activists, people who for years, week after week, election after election, have knocked on doors, have put leaflets through letterboxes, been at every conference voting on and debating our policy, have built the party up to this point, and our approach – being positive and constructive in opposition – that grown-up politics of consensus and negotiation is a credit to our members.

“And the fact that the Scottish Government felt comfortable enough inviting us in knowing that we would be capable and positive partners.

“I think there’s going to be a celebratory element, and congratulating and thanking our members for achieving this. This is their victory, this is their achievement.”

Harvie also said he was keen to thank party members and excited to discuss with them the “incredibly exciting moment of opportunity” entering into the co-operation deal.

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Asked if Scottish independence will be on the agenda, Harvie said: “There will be debates about a whole wide range of issues including the constitutional issues and I think in particular, this idea that some people would like to pretend it’s the environment or independence, whereas from the green point of view it’s independence in order to achieve a lot of that more transformational change on sustainability, on net zero, but also on a fairer and more equal society.

“It’s about independence for a purpose, that’s always been what has drawn greens towards supporting independence; what is it for, what can we achieve?”

The Scottish Green party conference will be held at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh on October 9 and 10.