The future of energy in Scotland: consultation analysis

An independent analysis of the responses to the consultation on a Scottish Energy Strategy: The Future of Energy in Scotland.

1. Introduction

1.1. The Scottish Government consultation on a draft Energy Strategy was one of four consultations in relation to the energy sector published by the Scottish Government in January 2017:

  • Consultation on a draft Scottish Energy Strategy.
  • Consultation on a draft Onshore Wind Policy Statement.
  • Consultation on Scotland's Energy Efficiency Programme ( SEEP).
  • Consultation on Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies ( LHEES) and District Heat Regulation.

1.2. This report focuses on the draft Energy Strategy only. Separate reports have been prepared on the other consultations. [2]

1.3. The consultation document on the draft Energy Strategy set out the vision for the future energy system in Scotland to 2050. The long-term vision set by the draft Energy Strategy is for a modern, integrated, clean energy system, delivering reliable energy supplies at an affordable price in a market that treats all consumers fairly.

1.4. The consultation asked seventeen questions and covered a range of issues under four chapter headings: Meeting our Energy Needs, Transforming Energy Use, Smart Local Energy Systems and Delivery, Monitoring and Engagement.

1.5. The consultation ran from 24 January until 30 May 2017.

Respondent Profile

1.6. There were 252 responses analysed in this report: 200 from organisations and 52 from individuals. [3] A list of all those organisations that submitted a response to the consultation is included in Appendix 1. A small number of the responses submitted by organisations will not be published.

1.7. The first column in the following table provides details of the overall groupings that were applied across the consultation on the draft Energy Strategy.

Respondent Groups
Main Categories Categories for draft Energy Strategy Number
Academia / Research / Training Academia / Research / Training 17
Community Community 7
Business / Industry Energy - engineering / network 15
Energy - non-renewable 8
Energy - renewable 25
Energy - utility 8
Energy - other 10
Non-energy 2
Total Business / Industry 68
Network / Professional / Trade Energy - engineering / network 4
Energy - non-renewable 2
Energy - renewable 8
Energy - other 10
Non-energy 19
Third Sector / NGO 1
Trade Union 4
Total Network / Professional / Trade 48
Local Government Local Government 21
Public Sector / Delivery Agency / Regulator Public Sector / Delivery Agency / Regulator 14
Third Sector / NGO Third Sector / NGO 24
Other Other 1
Total organisations 200
Individuals 52
Total respondents 252

1.8. Given the wide range of different organisations categorised under Business / Industry and Network / Professional / Trade, additional sub-categories were applied to these two categories and the second column shows the numbers of responses to the draft Energy Strategy in each analysis category and sub-category; these are the categories that are referred to throughout this report.

1.9. Breaking down the sample into different sub-groups enables the analysis to reflect the wide range and depth of views expressed by respondents at both an overall and sub-group level. This also allows for themes and sub-themes to be identified across the consultation as a whole and at individual questions, as well as highlighting any instances of consensus or disagreement between different sub-groups.


1.10. Responses to the consultation were submitted using the Scottish Government consultation platform Citizen Space or by email or hard copy.

1.11. It should be borne in mind that the number responding at each question is not always the same as the number presented in the respondent group table. This is because not all respondents addressed all questions; some commented only on those questions or sections of relevance to their organisation, sector or field of interest. The report indicates the number that commented at each question.

1.12. Many respondents did not use the consultation questionnaire and, instead, presented their views in a report or letter format. Wherever possible, researchers assigned relevant sections of these documents to the relevant questions in order that all comments on similar issues could be analysed together.

1.13. Comments made by respondents were examined and the range of issues mentioned in responses were noted; including reasons for opinions, specific examples or explanations, alternative suggestions or other related comments. Grouping these issues together into similar themes allowed the researchers to identify whether any theme was specific to any respondent sub-group or groups.

1.14. Wherever a particular comment came from respondents in one or two specific sub-groups, this has been highlighted. Where no sub-groups are mentioned, it can be assumed that the comment was noted in responses from several different groups. When looking at group differences however, it must be also borne in mind that where a specific opinion has been identified in relation to a particular group or groups, this does not indicate that other groups did not share this opinion, but rather that they simply did not comment on that particular point.

1.15. When referring to respondents who made particular comments, the terms 'a small number', 'several' and so on have been used. While the analysis was qualitative in nature, as the questionnaire did not include any quantifiable questions, as a very general rule of thumb it can be assumed that: 'a small number' indicates fewer than 10 respondents; 'several' indicates around 10 to 20; and 'many' indicates over 20 but fewer than half of those who commented at any question.

1.16. While the consultation gave all who wished to comment an opportunity to do so, given the self-selecting nature of this type of exercise, any figures quoted here cannot be extrapolated to a wider population outwith the respondent sample.

1.17. The views presented in this analysis have not been vetted in any way for factual accuracy. The opinions and comments submitted to the consultation may be based on fact or may, indeed, be based on what respondents perceive to be accurate, but which others may interpret differently. It is important for the analysis to represent views from all perspectives. The report may, therefore, contain analysis of responses which may be factually inaccurate or based on misunderstanding or misinformation but nevertheless reflect strongly held views. In some instances, such inaccuracies and misunderstandings will be relevant findings in themselves.

1.18. A small number of verbatim comments, from those who gave permission for their responses to be made public, have been used in the report to illustrate themes or to provide extra detail for some specific points.

1.19. Throughout the analysis a number of cross cutting themes were identified by respondents. Where these points have been noted at various questions in the responses, they are referenced and discussed in the final chapter in order to avoid repetition.


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