THE case for independence has never been stronger, Alex Salmond said as he concluded his party’s spring conference.

Speaking at the Alba Party conference in Glasgow’s Hampden Park, the former First Minister pointed to the cost of living crisis, asking why Scots are seeing energy bills skyrocket when the nation is “several times self-sufficient” in its own natural supplies.

The roughly 300-strong crowd gave Salmond a standing ovation as he criticised the SNP for a lack of progress on a second referendum, a plebiscite he said must be held as a “matter of urgency”.

The Alba leader echoed the SNP’s popular “it’s Scotland’s oil” campaign in the 1970s, suggesting Scotland’s energy resources are being frittered away by the current Holyrood administration.

Salmond said: “In this energy-rich Scotland of ours we produce all the electricity we need from renewable sources and are several times self-sufficient in natural gas.

“So why exactly are our electricity bills up 50% already with the same again to come?

READ MORE: Alex Salmond launches 100,000 ‘Wee Alba Books’ setting out case for Scottish independence

“Why are Scottish heating costs already sky high and dictated by the marginal price of world gas?

“Why are we facing huge amounts of fuel poverty in energy plenty Scotland? The answer is because we allow our vast resources, which by rights belong to the people, to be controlled by the pernicious combination of Westminster Government and international capital.

“Instead of closing down the North Sea as bizarrely advocated by the SNP/Green Government, Alba say make every consented field invest in carbon capture as a condition of license approval. Let us manage our resources in a way compatible with the future of the planet.

“And instead of the great billion-pound giveaway to foreign capital of our offshore wind licenses, which could in time produce up to five times our own electricity needs, then let us take a public share in every single field.

The National: Alba Party Conference 2022.

“Let Scotland do with renewables in this century what the Norwegians did with oil in the last – make renewable energy the peoples energy.”

Salmond also used the speech to take aim at the SNP over indyref2, saying the party had failed to come up with a response to London saying no to another vote.

“For seven long years, the SNP have been refusing to face the music of what to do when Westminster says no,” he said. “The answer is you devise a campaign to bend Westminster to the will of the Scottish people – a campaign of popular demonstration, of political action, of legal initiatives and of diplomatic moves.

“It is exactly the strategy which Alba laid out in the very first debate at our very first conference last autumn. After the 2011 election we faced down David Cameron and George Osborne. Are we really saying Scotland can’t face down Boris Johnson?”

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The former First Minister also accused the current SNP-Greens administration of becoming “incompetent”.

Speaking to the Sunday National after his closing speech, Salmond said: “We’ve got a positive agenda, we’re pushing forward on independence as an immediate priority. There’s a five-point plan on cost of living and child and family poverty. And there’s the defence of women’s rights.

“These are three major plans and for every candidate.”

Citing the recent debate over pensions in an independent Scotland, Salmond said: “If the SNP had read the Wee Alba Book before they got into a fankle last month we’d all be in a better state.”

Former SNP MP and current Alba politician Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh told The National: "It's been a fantastic day. We've debated 10 motions, three topical motions on issues that are really important, and fundamentally of the greatest importance, we've launched the Wee Alba Book which is Alba's contribution to the case for independence.

The National:

"The time for independence is now. We don't want to wait any longer. The people of Scotland don't have any time.

"We need to step up to the plate and we hope the people of Scotland will come with us on this journey as we finally get our independence and we hope the opportunity arrives sooner rather than later for us to vote for the future of our country."

Energy and the cost of living crisis was a major focus of the Alba conference. Tommy Sheridan spoke at a motion titled “It’s Scotland’s energy”, saying while the scourge of poverty never went away, it has “come back with a vengeance”.

The conference had three major focuses which were energy, independence and opposition to the Scottish Government’s proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act.

READ MORE: Kenny MacAskill attacks SNP over 'failures' on Ferguson Marine ferry deal and ScotWind auction

Alba’s depute leader Kenny MacAskill used his speech to attack the SNP on its failure to capitalise on Scotland’s energy sector, citing the “pittance” the Scottish Government received from the ScotWind auction, while several speeches heard opposition to self-ID for trans people in Scotland.

The council candidates and Alba members that the Sunday National spoke to had a strong emphasis on reigniting a desire for a second independence referendum.

The Alba Party is fielding some 100 candidates across the country in the local elections on May 5.

The party’s focus at conference remained on national issues, with council candidates and members focused on independence, the Gender Recognition Act and energy policy.