The initial tranche of witnesses for the Scottish Parliament’s Committee inquiry into the achievability of the Scottish Government’s renewable energy targets has been announced.
The Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee is undertaking evidence sessions over the next three months, covering topics including skills and technology, planning and consents, impact on communities and tourism, and grid matters.
Committee Convener Murdo Fraser MSP said: “Our initial witness list reflects the range of information and views that will contribute to our consideration of the technological, infrastructure and financial challenges of meeting the targets contained in the Scottish Government’s 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy.
"During the course of these sessions, we will explore the merits of the targets, as well as the risks and barriers to these targets being realised.”
The next round of witnesses is set to include:
21 March: Planning issues
- Chris Norman, Heads of Planning Scotland
- Scottish Government officials – Energy Consents Unit and Reporters Unit
- Keith Winter, Head of Enterprise, Planning and Protective Services, Fife Council
- Councillor Roger Grant, Planning Chair, Dumfries and Galloway Council and Councillor Carolyn Riddell-Carre, Planning Chair, Scottish Borders Council
- Jim MacKay, SEPA
- Andrew Thin, SNH
- David Palmer, Marine Scotland
28 March: Skills and technology issues
- Linda Greig, Carnegie College
- Jim Brown, Scotland’s Colleges Energy Skills Partnership
- Professor Sean Smith, Napier University
- Gordon McGuiness, Skills Development Scotland
- Representative of various institutes of engineering (TBC)
- Andrew Scott, Pelamis Wave
- John Robertson, BIFab
- Representative of Aquamarine Power
18 April: Impact on communities and land users
- Dave Morris, Ramblers Scotland
- Gordon Ball, Cameron Community Council
- Representative of Fintry Development Trust (TBC)
- Representative of the Scottish Tourism Alliance
25 April: Broader impact on tourism, communities etc
- Donald Trump Sr.
- Representatives of Communities Against Turbines
Note: The above is not a final, exhaustive list at this stage, as potential witnesses are still being finalised. Names and dates may vary. Details on future witnesses will be announced in due course.
The Committee has also agreed to undertake a small number of fact-finding visits across Scotland to allow members to gather information first hand on the manufacture and testing of technologies for renewables, the provision of further education in the sector and to see an installed wind farm in its community setting. Details are being worked up and a programme will be announced in due course.
Key questions to be considered during the inquiry include:
- Is the technology to the meet the targets available and affordable?
- Are our universities and research institutes fully geared up to the need for technological development?
- How can national priorities be reconciled with local interests?
- Are we confident that the necessary infrastructure can be developed and financed so that Scotland can export any excess electricity generation to the rest of the UK?
- What will the impact be on consumers’ bills?
- Will sufficient funds be available to allow investment in both the installation and development of relevant technologies?
- Will Scotland have sufficient home-grown skills to attract inward investment?
- Are the reforms of the energy markets and subsidy regimes at both UK and EU level sufficient to meet the targets?