CEP response to the Draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan
The Scottish Government have published the Draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan
On release of the draft strategy and plan, CEP Director Professor Karen Turner said:
“While we welcome publication of the Draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, which sets out the Scottish Government’s route map to deliver a fair and secure zero carbon energy system for Scotland, much clearly needs to develop if Scotland is to achieve its climate and just transition ambitions. The draft strategy and plan do reinforce Scotland’s ambitions around greatly expanding renewable generation capacity, and for supporting more emerging technologies like low carbon hydrogen production and CCUS. However, much is yet to transpire around how increasingly ambitious plans to transition rapidly away from oil and gas will map to the transition of the workforce, and both reducing and meeting our energy demand needs without increasing reliance on costly and emissions-intensive imports.
“As recognised in the strategy, while the transition has the potential to support a strong and sustainable economy, ambitions set out in the draft strategy and plan will require much needed policy action and coordination with industry to ensure that Scottish supply chains and the broader economic activity they support can prosper as these low carbon sectors grow. Economic growth and both industrial and workforce transition that work to offset declines in the oil and gas production sector, which Scotland’s economy has so heavily relied upon, will not be easy to achieve, and there is a real risk of challenging trade-offs emerging as net zero target timeframes close in.
“In key sectors that remain high polluters and heavily reliant on fossil fuels, such as the buildings sector, the strategy sets out new initiatives such as the National Energy Agency – Heat and Energy Efficiency Scotland. Effective deployment will be necessary in the context of commitments to decarbonise 1 million Scottish homes by 2030 and reduce domestic oil and gas production, with the implication that such new initiatives need to be supported by sufficient underlying policies and funding. This is necessary to ensure that demand for fossil fuels actually declines, and there is no increased need to import fossil fuels, while new marine energy and other low carbon industries really do emerge and develop in such a way that supports a just transition as domestic fossil fuel production ramps down.
“Of course, much needed reforms in the energy market to ensure that the emerging energy system can deliver affordable energy to businesses and households across Scotland do require the cooperation of the UK Government and GB regulator. Nonetheless, with effective planning, consultation, and both cooperation and coordination with industry, trade unions and other stakeholders, the Scottish Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan can and must move forward from draft stage in ways that make the most of levers available to the Scottish Government. This is not only in promoting and supporting industry development, but also in housing and transport strategies, where there is certainly more devolved capability in reducing and decarbonising energy demand.”