Turbulent times for wind investment

The clue's in SSE's former name: Scottish and Southern Energy straddles the border, and it's got a big financial interest in what comes out of the independence debate.

More than most other sectors, power utilities look to regulators to shape their markets, so there are big implications for the way in which renewable energy continues to be subsidised.

If investment in Scottish windfarms lacks the backing of subsidy from English and Welsh customer bills, then the investment may not stack up. It may therefore be put on hold, at least until the subsidy regime becomes clearer.

So SSE's warning matters to the Scottish economy and to the renewables industry. It will likely be a signal to others.

It also matters to the political debate. Pro-union politicians have claimed businesses will hold back on investment because of the wait for a referendum until autumn 2014, and because of uncertainties that could follow from independence negotiations. But until now, they've struggled to find evidence.

That's while the SNP government has pointed to several major international companies continuing to invest in Scotland, across energy, finance and retail.

Now, the pro-union side has clear evidence of a real increase in investment risk and costs.

And it's all the more problematic for the Scottish government to find this comes from such a large, Scottish-based company which shares ministers' huge enthusiasm for the renewable power industry.