Summary and implications

The Scottish Parliament's Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee on 30 June outlined its vision for Scotland's energy future in a report entitled Determining and delivering on Scotland's energy future. This report aimed to provide clarity and certainty in terms of a way forward. Following 12 months of substantive deliberation, the Committee reported that a new generation of nuclear powers stations is not the answer. What is required is increased investment in renewable energy. This investment will encourage Scotland to:

  •  meet its climate change targets as set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Bill; and
  • create a sustainable economy for Scotland which will put them at the forefront of an energy revolution.

To read the report, click here

 The report outlines the importance of investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy and sets out four goals that form the core of the vision for Scotland's energy future:

  • efficiency maximisation;
  • environmental damage minimisation;
  • a socially just energy society; and • the creation of wealth and employment.  

The committee put together a package of recommendations which it is hoped will turn their vision for Scotland's future in to a reality.  

Energy policy, targets, legislative framework

The committee's policy is based on achieving the climate change targets set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Bill. These include:

  • reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases by 80 percent by 2050; and
  •  increasing the use of renewable energy technologies to provide 50 percent of the electricity generated in Scotland by 2020.  

Tackling energy consumption, keeping energy prices affordable and tackling fuel poverty The report recommends that the Scottish Government should consider substantially increasing investment in the order of £100-170 million per year over the next decade to increase energy efficiency.

In addition to this it calls for a rapid acceleration of the proposed roll out of smart meters. Ofgem are encouraged to ensure the transparency of social tariffs and to require energy utilities to deliver on these and address problems with pre-payment meters or face financial sanctions.  

The Scottish Government must take substantive steps to achieve change required to meet its statutory target of eliminating fuel poverty by 2016.

Further developing renewable energy technologies

Unlocking renewable energy resources in Scotland is crucial, therefore the Scottish Government is encouraged to speed up procedures for consent for large scale developments within national electricity infrastructure, including the new Beauly-Denny overhead electricity transmission line.

The report calls for an audit of other infrastructure, particularly harbour facilities that will be required to deliver wave and tidal energy and offshore wind energy in the future.

Collaboration between the Scottish Government and the UK Government is essential to release funds held by Ofgem in its fossil fuel levy account.

Heat, including combined heat and power and energy-from-waste

An increase in investment in combined heat and power plants, particularly those using renewable fuels and those combined with district heating is necessary. Biofuels, as well as increased waste combustion, could play an important role in delivering more combined heat and power. In addition, financial incentives for renewable heat installations are suggested.

Supporting the oil and gas industry including diversification and skills development

The report calls on the Scottish Government to increase the involvement of oil and gas industry representatives in various skill bodies. This is hoped to encourage diversification into marine energy and will be aided by removing blockages to realising the €40 million EU investment in an offshore wind test centre in Aberdeen.

Supporting newer, emerging technologies, including cleaner coal and marine energy

Key to emerging technologies is the injection of substantial financial resources towards infrastructure in order to develop marine renewable potential. This is seen as a substitute for future building of nuclear plants.

Conclusion

SNP MSP Rob Gibson, Deputy Convenor of the Parliament's Energy Committee echoed much of what the report laid out when stating that, "there is no desire across the Scottish Parliament for new nuclear energy in Scotland and a real enthusiasm for building a clean, green future with new technologies."