1. Ministerial Foreword
I am delighted to publish our second annual energy statement. Since the publication of our first statement in May 2019, the Scottish economy, and the scale of the challenges we now face, have changed considerably. The need for a Just Transition that supports sustainable economic growth and jobs is greater than ever, given the impacts we are seeing on the oil and gas sector and its supply chain, and the need to retain the skills and talent of those facing redundancy and to rechannel their expertise into supporting the energy transition. As we emerge from the social and economic crisis following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have a chance to build a greener, fairer and more equal society and economy, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
My engagement with the energy sector, through the work of the Scottish Energy Advisory Board and its Strategic Leadership Groups, and the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council and Scottish Marine Energy Industry Working Group, continues to show just how strong a desire there is to work collaboratively towards our goal of achieving both net zero and the energy transition. The recent report by the Advisory Group for Economic Recovery: Towards a Robust, Resilient, Wellbeing Economy for Scotland highlights the importance of public and private sector partnership working. We fully expect the energy sector to play an important role in the work towards a green recovery, and the Scottish Government is fully committed to working with our partners to ensure that we realise the social and economic opportunities presented to us by a Just Transition.
This statement highlights that we have made good progress in areas such as renewable electricity generation with Scotland’s renewable electricity generation having grown in 2019 to such an extent that it was able to meet the equivalent of 90.1% of Scotland’s gross electricity consumption. However, our commitment to achieve a 75% reduction in emissions by 2030 remains challenging, and we continue to rely heavily upon the efforts and behaviours of the public sector, industry and consumers. Scotland’s ability to deliver against the 75% target will also be determined by the actions of the UK Government in areas where policy remains reserved to UK Ministers under the provisions of the Scotland Act 1998, as amended.
It is essential that the UK Government works with us and takes action in areas such as the reserved aspects of the decarbonisation of heat, measures to accelerate the full deployment of Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) in Scotland, support for the decarbonisation of Scotland’s energy-intensive industries, and the substantial regional security of supply issues that have developed across the UK over the past decade. Overcoming these key issues is critical to Scotland’s success in achieving net zero. Through channels such as the negotiations around the UK’s exit from the European Union, we will continue to call upon the UK Government to put in place the necessary policies to enable Scotland to achieve its full potential on the net zero pathway.
Finally, in April this year, the Scottish Government launched its Scottish Energy Statistics Hub. This interactive tool is a ‘one-stop shop’ for all Scottish energy data, designed to show the latest Scottish energy statistics in line with the Scottish Government’s open and transparent approach.
This year’s energy statement highlights the key developments in the sector that have influenced our ability to deliver the targets set out in the current Energy Strategy, published in December 2017. It also highlights our progress made to date, and summarises our priorities for the short term, as we look ahead to the UN Climate Conference – COP26 – in Glasgow in 2021, whilst continuing on our journey towards Net Zero and a green, fair and resilient recovery for the Scottish economy.
Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands