Scotland's Economy

How can we improve our energy?

April 28, 2017 by No Comments | Category Business, consultation, Economy, Energy

How can we improve our energy? What difference will it make?

This is my second blog in a series covering the draft Energy Strategy while it’s out to consultation, and today I’m looking at our current use of energy and how our planned changes might affect our day to day lives and how changes might impact upon businesses across Scotland.

The current situation?

In day to day life, people and businesses are heavily reliant on having access to a safe, secure supply of energy. Simple actions like boiling the kettle and driving to the shops are often taken for granted, while increasingly in a technology led economy, everything from smart phones to manufacturing plant and equivalent are energy intensive. Clearly none of this could happen without creating and generating consumable energy.

However, fortunately, Scotland is rich with energy resources. In fact, Scotland is estimated to be the largest oil and second largest gas producer in the EU producing 95% of oil and 58% of UK gas used in 2015, and we export electricity too – around 29% of electricity produced in Scotland was exported to the rest of the UK in 2015.

Renewable electricity generation in Scotland has almost trebled in the last decade and renewable heat is almost five times greater than it was in 2008/9.

We’ve already met and surpassed many of our 2020 energy goals, but as with everything, we want to do even better in delivering a modern, clean energy system of the future.

So it’s important that you read the draft Energy Strategy while the consultation remains open, and have your say on the proposed systems and how you think they can be made even stronger.

What does the draft energy plan propose?

Firstly we plan to use a whole-system view of energy policy. Essentially an integrated approach will recognise the interactions and effects that the elements of the energy system have on each other. New energy technologies and consumer behaviours are increasingly inter-connected, for example Smart Meters and electric vehicles have an impact on how the electricity grid is managed.

We’ve proposed a new 2030 all-energy target for 50% of Scotland’s heat, transport and electricity needs to be to be met from renewable energy sources; a huge ambition in its own right, but one that’s achievable.

To help us achieve our goals and impose the efficient use of energy and reduce waste, we’ve set up Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) which will concentrate on the economic benefits of energy efficiency investment and the importance of tackling fuel poverty.

SEEP is a long-term (15-20 year) and multi billion pound programme designed to improve the energy efficiency of homes and business buildings with the ultimate aim of decarbonising heat supply.

Additionally we must plan for the new skills and investment required to meet the extra demands on the electricity grid and energy networks as more of our heat and transport needs are met by electrically-powered technologies.

What difference will it make?

Investment through SEEP will result in enabling the supply of energy to be more affordable and reduce carbon emissions from the built environment.

Improved energy efficiency helps households and businesses to have more control over their fuel bills, which will contribute to tackling fuel poverty through reduced costs and achieve health improvement benefits because people will have warmer homes.

By reducing the costs of energy to Scottish businesses, we know productivity, profitability and therefore economic competitiveness, is likely to improve. By building a Scottish supply chain to harness investment in energy efficiency measures, we can deliver growth and new jobs to the Scottish economy.

In essence our draft Energy Strategy is going to help make us a low carbon sustainable society and economy, which will have lasting benefits for our country and provide a source of competitive advantage in comparison with those economies that fail to adapt to a lower carbon world.

We are seeking your views on the vision for our future energy system and how we will best achieve this. We are all consumers of energy and have a stake in determining the future energy system.

So, please don’t forget to have your say and respond to the energy consultation by May 30th. On my next blog I’ll cover what in particular will change.

Five top in-depth energy facts:

  1. The Scottish Government has allocated over £650 million since 2009 on a range of Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency programmes to help the most vulnerable in society heat their homes affordably. This investment, allied to new building standards, has contributed to a significant increase in energy efficiency: the Scottish House Condition Survey shows that just over two-fifths (42%) of homes in 2015 rated EPC band C or above, an increase of 74% since 2010. Scotland now has proportionately 40% more homes with a good EPC rating (C or above) than England.
  2. In 2015, oil and gas production was estimated to be worth £10 billion to the Scottish economy and supported an estimated 124,500 jobs across Scotland in 2016. Scotland is estimated to be the largest oil producer and second largest gas producer in the EU on an internationally comparable basis. Supply chain sales in the oil and gas sector reached £23 billion in 2014, with international activity accounting for over 53% of total sales.
  3. The latest figures available show that the low carbon and renewable energy economy supported 58,500 jobs in Scotland. This accounts for 13.5% of the total UK employment in this sector (higher than population share). It also generated £10.5 billion in turnover, 13.5% of the total UK turnover in this sector.
  4. The strength of our energy sector in Scotland can also be seen through the rate at which businesses are expanding into international markets and diversifying into low carbon and innovative technologies, with Scottish energy exports totalling almost £16 billion in 2015.
  5. Recognising that much of Scotland’s energy policy currently remains reserved, the Scottish Government will continue to work with the UK Government and the GB energy regulator (Ofgem) and System Operator (National Grid). EU legally-binding renewable energy and energy efficiency targets have played a defining role in stimulating the huge growth in renewable energy in Scotland, which has seen significant inward investment flows into Scotland. Internal market rules also ensure fair access for suppliers, set a framework for interconnection and provide protection for consumers. This contributes to lower energy costs, greater security of supply and the competitiveness of our businesses and the Scottish economy.

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