LONDON, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- An independent Scotland would be able to enhance its economy as it hosts a sizable share of Europe's renewable energy potential, an official said.
Scotland aims to have a referendum on independence as early as 2014. First Minister Alex Salmond said an independent Scotland could generate more than $45 million in the first 20 years if it were to establish an energy fund.
"Under independence we would make the best use of our unparalleled energy resources," he told an audience at the London School of Economics. "We have 25 percent of Europe's tidal power potential, 25 percent of its offshore wind potential and 10 percent of its wave power potential -- not bad for a nation with less than 1 percent of Europe's population."
Salmond has said Edinburgh would take control more than 90 percent of the oil and natural gas fields in the North Sea if Scotland gained independence. He added that an independent Scotland would be able to export as much as half of the electricity it generates by 2020.
"While renewables will be the source of Scotland's reindustrialization, in value terms there is at least as much oil and gas still to come out as has already been used -- at least 40 years of oil and gas reserves," he said.