Tomorrow, despite the snow and cold blasts in Edinburgh, there could be a raising of the temperature at the Scottish Parliament.
Peter Atherton of Citigroup is due to appear before the Economy, Energy and Trade Committee. He has claimed that Scotland’s renewables industry is at risk unless the UK and Scottish Governments agree how to ensure there are no stranded assets, and subsidies are guaranteed should Scotland become independent.
Last month Citigroup launched a report which suggested uncertainly and risk in terms of continuing renewables subsidy in Scotland from the rest of the UK. The prospect of a Scottish referendum was causing investor concern about the potential of stranded assets should Scotland succeed from the UK – just at the time that major offshore investment is required.
When the report was published, the SNP First Minister Alex Salmond rubbished its findings claiming that much of the renewable energy produced would be for export and would help "keep the lights on" in England.
Following the criticism, Citigroup has published a revised report again insisting that uncertainty will hit the renewables industry. It also rebuts arguments advanced against the first version of the report, such as Mr Salmond’s assertions, or that past investment shows that there is no risk.
No doubt Mr Atherton has packed his flak jacket – along with his snow shoes – for his trip north later this week. Although the SNP members of the committee will be firing brick bats the convenor of the committee, Tory Murdo Fraser, made his view clear earlier saying:
“When the original Citigroup report appeared the SNP spin machine went into overdrive to try and refute the evidence it contained. The robust response in this updated report utterly discredits the politically-motivated SNP attacks on this respected financial institution.
“I look forward to hearing Peter Atherton at the Committee meeting on Wednesday morning set out why the SNP have not got a leg to stand on when it comes to the financial consequences of independence.”
Wednesday looks set to be something of a rammy in Holyrood.