A political vision for the future of energy production and use in Scotland was set out today in an extensive report from the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee.
Determining and Delivering on Scotland’s Energy Future sets out a pathway for the Scottish Government to follow to meet the emissions targets set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Bill, passed last week by the Scottish Parliament.
The vision is laid out under four broad headings – efficiency, environmental sustainability, social justice, and maximising economic and employment benefits.
Recommendations include a multi-million-pound programme to reduce energy demand and an extension to the life of existing nuclear power plants, investment in renewable energy and cleaner coal-fired power stations, instead of developing any new nuclear power stations in Scotland.
The 126-page report was published following a 12-month committee inquiry calling on 120 witnesses from Scotland’s energy sector, together with 125 written submissions.
The findings of the report include recommendations that:
- the Scottish Government considers investing between £100 million and £170m annually over the next ten years to reduce energy demand and fuel poverty across Scotland
- a greater emphasis is placed on decentralising Scotland’s electricity system, putting in place policies to increase individual, community and municipal-scale production, distribution and use of electricity and heat through schemes such as district heating
- Scotland does not need a new generation of nuclear power stations to be built but that there is a need to extend the life of existing nuclear power plants to give time to increase electricity generation from alternative sources
- the Scottish Government speeds up procedures to give consent to new, large-scale developments within Scotland’s national electricity infrastructure, including the proposed Beauly-Denny line, so that Scotland can unlock its renewable energy potential and meet challenging climate-change targets
- the energy regulator Ofgem tackles fuel poverty issues by ensuring energy tariffs are transparent and that problems with energy pre-payment meters are addressed
- major companies in the oil and gas sector should be encouraged to diversify into marine-energy production, particularly offshore wind.
Committee Convener Iain Smith said: “This is our vision for Scotland’s energy future. The provision of secure, affordable and environmentally-friendly energy supplies is fundamental to the wealth and national well-being of Scotland.
"Scotland is incredibly well positioned in terms of energy resources – rich oil and gas reserves, the largest wind, wave and tidal resources in Europe, and a well-supplied power generation market.
"However, there are immense challenges ahead in terms of the future of energy production and consumption. This report sets out our energy vision for Scotland and how best the Scottish Government can achieve it, striking the right balance between energy costs, security of supply and the environment."