6. Monitoring and Engagement
Scottish Energy Advisory Board (SEAB)
- SEAB updated its remit when Scotland's Energy Strategy was published to take account of the Strategy's themes and strategic priorities - giving the board a wider perspective.
- The Board received an update on progress in the delivery of Scotland's Energy Strategy when it met in November 2018, and again in correspondence shortly before publication.
- We are working with SEAB to agree a proposal to realign the expert group structure underneath SEAB - with a view to ensuring effective coverage of each of the Strategic Priorities of the Strategy. The new structure will be announced following the next meeting of SEAB in June, and the remits and membership of each group confirmed following summer recess.
A Just Transition
- A Just Transition to a carbon neutral future will be one that creates jobs through new sustainable industries, is good for communities, and helps to tackle inequalities and poverty. The benefits of transitioning to a carbon neutral economy need to be shared widely. And we must be very mindful to not leave anyone behind, and to leverage the existing strengths of the Scottish energy sector.
- We have established a Just Transition Commission to provide Ministers with practical advice on how to move to a carbon neutral economy that is fair for all. The Commission started work in January 2019 and is tasked with providing independent advice by early 2021.
- Membership includes representatives from business and industry, trade unions, environmental groups, academia, farming and the third sector. Collectively the Commission has expertise on Labour Markets and Skills, Social Inclusion and Regional Cohesion, as well as climate change.
- Dialogue and engagement will be crucial to the Commission's work; involving people from across Scotland to hear the views of those likely to be affected by, and contribute to, the transition.
Public Engagement Strategy
- The Energy Consumer Action Plan, published alongside this Statement, recognises that too many people feel disengaged and disempowered when it comes to energy. To address this, we will consult widely to encourage lively public debate that allows the people of Scotland to shape their energy future.
- We can deliver better outcomes for consumers, particularly those who are least engaged, by raising awareness and understanding of what are often complex issues, and making them more accessible. We will work with and challenge the industry to improve how it engages with and involves consumers.
- We will also be consulting widely over the summer to inform the development of the new climate change public engagement strategy. This work will drive future engagement with individuals on climate change within the context of increased ambition in the new Climate Change Bill.
- Together, these actions represent a major step towards improving our approach to public engagement on energy and climate.
- Scotland's Energy Strategy recognises the importance of working with international partners to better understand the transition to a carbon neutral economy.
- In the last 18 months we have developed new partnerships, and deepened existing relationships to support the global transition to a carbon neutral economy. This includes working with the Government of California to share experiences of off-shore wind; entering into an Memorandum of Understanding with New Jersey to help tackle climate change, recognising the importance of a decarbonised energy sector; and entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with Denmark to promote bilateral collaboration on decarbonisation of heat in buildings, district heating and increasing the energy efficiency of buildings.
- We will also enter into a partnership with the Solar Impulse Foundation to find innovative and profitable solutions to protect the environment including solutions which support Sustainable Development Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), backed by £1 million funding.
- Ministers attended international events, including the Global Climate Action Summit and the UN Climate Conference (COP 24), to share our experiences in transitioning to a carbon neutral economy in a just and inclusive way, and to learn from others. We have joined up with a number of operations to support our efforts, including the Zero Emission Vehicle Challenge, the Net Zero Carbon Building Challenge, the Industry Transition Platform, and the Powering Past Coal Alliance.
- We have recruited a dedicated resource to promote Scotland's Energy Strategy internationally and to work collaboratively on the transition to a carbon neutral economy. In January, the First Minister also announced the appointment of a new Renewables Specialist for the East Coast of North America, which Opportunity North East and Scottish Development International are co-funding.