Consultation on the Scottish Energy Strategy: The future of energy in Scotland

10th March 2017

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on their strategy to take the country forward through a full energy transition towards 2050. The Energy Strategy is independent to but alongside the Climate Change Plan, using the targets from the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

The Scottish Energy Strategy consultation is accompanied by four additional separate consultation documents:
  The closing date for all five is 30th May. 

EAUC-Scotland are focusing on submitting a Sector Response to the Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) Consultation due to its linkages with the further and higher education sector and would value your input,  but would encourage you to respond individually to any of the five consultations which are relevant. 
You can find the full Draft Energy Strategy on the Scottish Government's Consultations website, and we have provided a summary below.

Scottish community, public sector and not-for profit organisations are invited to hear about the ideas emerging which will shape the energy scene in Scotland and formulate feedback on the proposals at a collaborative event in Edinburgh on 29th March. Find out more and book your place here.

Background (p.10)

The 2050 Vision for energy is outlined as "A strong low carbon economy - sharing the benefits across our communities, reducing social inequalities, and creating a vibrant climate for innovation, investment and high value jobs.", with "A modern, integrated, clean energy system, delivering reliable energy supplies at an affordable price in a market that treats all consumers fairly."
The strategy has been developed under three key themes:
  • A whole systems view
  • A stable, managed energy transition
  • A smarter model of local energy provision

Understanding Scotland's Energy System (p.15)

Scotland is energy rich and a major contributor to UK and EU energy markets. Over the last 15 years the power sector has become largely decarbonised, with the carbon intensity of energy down 40% between 2010 and 2014.
The Scottish Government have supported a massive increase in both large scale renewables investment (primarily onshore wind to complement existing hydro) and small scale investment, and also a big increase in renewable heat in 2015. However there is still long way to go, particularly around heating and transport.
Energy prices have been increasing rapidly.
Scotland’s energy journey is impacted by a number of external trends, including:
  • UK government policy (much energy policy is reserved) as the UK are removing funding from carbon capture and storage and renewables
  • Increased role for the Scottish Parliament through new devolved powers from Scotland Act 2016
  • Decisions on membership of the European Union will have an effect through energy market changes and the commitment to legally binding EU renewable energy and energy efficiency targets

Meeting our energy supply needs (p.29)

The 2050 Vision is for almost completely energy system decarbonisation, with a new 2030 target for 50% of Scotland's heat, transport and electricity consumption to be supplied from renewable sources. In this vision, Scotland will be a leader in renewable and low carbon technologies and services but continue to offer technology solutions in oil and gas. There will be urban low carbon heat networks, large scale carbon capture and storage, flexible generation and demand management, shared ownership of renewables, and local energy systems maximising community benefits.
There are lots of uncertain factors, so the Strategy has adopted a flexible approach with five priorities:
  • Continuing to support the recovery of North Sea oil and gas as a highly-regulated source of hydrocarbon fuels (p.32) due to their value in energy systems, space heating, industry and manufacturing, and their economic and energy resilience benefits.
  • Exploring the role of new energy sources (p.34) including hydrogen and other hydrocarbon-based gases and development of fuel cells, supported by powers within the land use and marine planning systems. In some cases, such as unconventional oil and gas sources (p.35), the government may choose not to support particular technologies.
  • Supporting the demonstration and commercialisation of carbon capture and storage and CO2 utilisation (p.36) to decarbonise energy, given Scotland’s high oil and gas capabilities, ready supply chain and pipeline and platform infrastructure.
  • Increasing the generation of renewable and low carbon energy (p.38) towards the 2020 target of 100% of electricity consumption from renewable sources, and beyond to the heat (including a focus on thermal storage and district heating which has its own consultation paper) and transport (by developing advanced biofuels) sectors to meet the Scottish Government’s new ambition of 50% of all energy needs from renewable sources by 2030. Renewables development can take advantage of existing Scottish experience and specialisms, including offshore development, with technology opportunities including onshore wind, offshore wind, hydro power, marine renewables, solar PV and bioenergy. UK Government support is currently unclear, and this Energy Strategy challenges industry to establish the UK’s first commercial onshore wind development without subsidy in Scotland, with more details in the draft onshore wind policy statement.
  • Increasing the flexibility, efficiency and resilience of the energy system as a whole (p.48) by developing transmission and distribution networks, including linking the Scottish islands, and investing in smart, flexible and grid-friendly technologies to maximise use and potential of renewable energy, balance supply and demand, and increase efficiency. Pumped hydro storage allows an effective large scale way of storing energy to balance supply and demand, and is currently being expanded. Overall, there is a desire for a balanced electricity mix which, in the absence of adequate storage capacity, requires thermal energy generation to provide a base-load and support resilience. Building the more efficient thermal generation needed to meet the Strategy will require market and regulatory changes at a UK level. The Scottish Government do not support new nuclear generation after current nuclear electricity plants in Scotland are decommissioned.

Transforming Scotland’s Energy Use (p.53)

The 2050 Vision is that Scotland’s domestic and non-domestic buildings have undergone a low carbon transformation, Scotland’s energy market delivers fair outcomes for all, a successful shift has been made to a low carbon transport system, and significant energy efficiency improvements have been made leading to greater competitiveness.
Scotland has demonstrated success in increasing energy efficiency and are now developing a more stretching target. The Government are seeking views on whether this should be in line with the European Commission’s EU-wide energy efficiency target of 30%, as we far surpassed our 12% 2020 target for energy consumption reduction in 2014. EAUC-Scotland are seeking opinions on this as part of our Scottish Energy Efficiency Programme Consultation Sector Response.
Scottish Government has four priority areas for the short to medium-term:
  • Addressing the need to reduce demand and increase energy efficiency  (the cornerstone being Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP), on which EAUC-Scotland are seeking views to form a Sector Response, and has a target that where technically feasible and practical buildings are near zero carbon). (p.56)
  • Helping energy consumers to manage their bills, harnessing smart technology in the home and supporting new business models in the retail environment (p.58)
  • Supporting the introduction of viable, lower carbon alternatives across all modes of transport (p.59)
  • Delivering enhanced competitiveness and improved energy efficiency in Scotland’s manufacturing and industrial sectors (p.60)

Delivering Smart, Local Energy Systems (p.63)

The 2050 Vision is that Scotland is a leader in the development of local energy systems, which is now a significant export industry. Local communities are actively involved and benefit from renewable energy generation, with local energy plans for each area of Scotland acting as an area-based commercial investment prospectus.
Scotland has already exceeded our 2020 target for 500MW of community and locally-owned energy, which also bring in money to support local needs. New schemes to support development of community energy are required, with a shift also in business models and energy tariffs also needed. Local energy can positively influence many areas, including security of supply, demand reduction, affordability and local economic renewal.
The two priorities for supporting the development of Smart, Local Energy Systems are:
  • Directly supporting the demonstration and growth of new innovative projects (p.65) such as work currently done through the Low Carbon Intrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP), CARES Local Energy Challenge Fund (LECF), CARES Infrastructure and Innovation Fund (IIF), Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF) and District Heating Loan Fund (DHLF). Projects may be new and innovative, and two long-term independent research programmes have been put in place to monitor the social and economic impacts from Scottish local energy projects.
  • Develop future energy systems in partnership between communities, the private and public sectors (p.66) involving a more coordinated approach to the local planning of energy and heat systems to allow communities to be heard as well as develop their own projects. The Scottish Government is seeking views on regulation for local authorities to produce Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies to help manage investment and decarbonisation, and also investigating developing a government owned energy company to support local and community projects (p.68), and Scottish Renewables Energy bond. (p.68).

Delivery, Monitoring and Engagement (p.72)

The 2050 Vision is of a thriving energy sector, with the public and private sectors working together and Scotland utilising new technology. The public will be informed and involved in shaping and delivering Scotland’s energy future.
The Scottish Energy Advisory Board will provide oversight and advice on implementation of this strategy, with local authorities and COSLA involved in the design and implementation.

Enterprise and Skills Agencies will be essential in creating business growth and global market connections, with a review with Skills Development Scotland of priorities and actions in the Skills Investment Plan.
Scotland’s excellent research and innovation capacity and facilities will support technological advancement with a whole-systems view. The Scottish Government and Scottish Funding Council are supporting the Energy Technology Partnership (ETP), which promotes collaboration between universities and industry to research and develop energy technologies, and consists of an affiliation of 12 university partners.
Monitoring Scotland’s Energy Strategy (p.73) to ensure it is adaptive and kept aligned with the long-term vision will be done through publication of an Annual Energy Statement which will consider a range of statistics and the Climate Change Plan monitoring framework.
Deepening Public Engagement (p.73) is important to ensure the strategy is effective, with the draft strategy developed through dialogue with stakeholders and the consultation offering opportunities for public participation and engagement to raise awareness and understanding of the choices, encourage a sense of ownership and control in individuals and communities, and improve the design of the strategy. Ongoing public engagement will involve information sharing and awareness raising, encouraging local conversations, and consultation, engagement and deliberation (p.74). An engagement plan will be published as part of the final strategy.


Access the draft Scottish Energy Strategy and submit a Consultation Response on the Scottish Government Consultation website.

Consultation on the Scottish Energy Strategy: The future of energy in Scotland image #1