Scottish Government unveils its energy big picture

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Community Energy Scotland welcomes two new outlines of the Scottish Government's plans to cut carbon emissions and improve energy resilience.

The Draft Climate Change Plan was published on January 19th and the linked draft Scottish Energy Strategy on January 24th.

The Climate Change Plan proposes a new target of 1GW of electricity generation in local or community ownership by 2020. The Holyrood administration commits to extending the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP) and the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), both of which help CES members to install and successfully operate energy projects.

In transport, the Plan declares ongoing interest in low-carbon energy for ferries – in which CES's Surf 'n' Turf project in Orkney plays a key starter role. By 2032, 30% of ferries in Scotland are to be low emission. Road transport, it is proposed, will continue to move away from fossil fuels. Half of buses are to be low emission vehicles by 2032; 40% of new registrations for cars and light vans are to be ultra low emission vehicles by the same year. (ULEV vehicles are often plug-in electric.)

In agriculture, the Plan signals strong support for anaerobic digestion of farm waste – including encouragement for local co-operatives to achieve efficiency through scale.

For housing energy efficiency, the Plan outlines arguably quite timid proposals for insulation uptake by 2020 (such as 10% more homes to have adequate loft insulation) but sets a long term goal of all buildings to be near zero carbon by 2050. There is commitment to smart meters, as part of the UK roll-out.

Nicholas Gubbins, CEO of CES said: “CES strongly welcomes the intention to move to a smarter and more localised energy system but it is vital that communities are fully engaged in this process. Community groups have expert knowledge of local circumstances and a second to none capability to engage with local consumers on how to benefit from the innovations in energy supply that are beginning to appear."

CES, in partnership with community groups, is deeply engaged in helping to drive such innovation. The draft Energy Strategy consultation – open until May 30th – recognises the value of several current CES projects in demonstrating ways to a low carbon future.

It discusses the need for community energy and local ownership to, "shift towards new models designed to be viable in a more difficult market."

The consultation asks for input on ways the Scottish government can rebalance the energy market. Possibilities include a government-owned energy company and Scottish renewable energy bonds.

CES will review the Energy Strategy in detail and canvas its members prior to responding to the consultation.

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Community Energy Scotland, Highlands and Islands Social Enterprise Zone, 67A Castle Street, Inverness IV2 3DU
Registered Scottish Charity (No. SC039673), and company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland (No. SC333698)
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