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Scotland's energy supplies and the impact of moving away from fossil fuels to more green sources of energy: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.


Information requested

Please answer the following questions:

1. What assessments has the Scottish government made for the need of nuclear, oil and gas supplies between now and 2050?

2. Has the Scottish government factored into those assessments the effect of Independence?

3. Have these assessments looked at the likely cost of energy to consumers of the move away from coal, nuclear, oil and gas?

4. What is the estimated time frame for Scotland to achieve no reliance on energy form nuclear, coal, oil and gas?

5. What assessments has the Scottish government made regarding the impact on jobs of the move away from nuclear, oil and gas energy sources?

6. Has the Scottish government considered the effect on employment in the North East of Scotland of this move and the Shetland Islands in particular?

7. What plans does the Scottish government have for the production of "green" hydrogen and what is its assessment of how far that can offset reliance on nuclear, oil and gas sources of energy?

Response

1. What assessments has the Scottish government made for the need of nuclear, oil and gas supplies between now and 2050?
As part of the process for developing the Climate Change Plan Update, modelling and sector analyses were undertaken to assess the energy requirements and emissions across the Scottish economy. The current plan focuses on the period out to 2032, and these assessments will be periodically updated to ensure they reflect the latest evidence and data. The next plan is due to be completed in 2025. As part of the Bute House Agreement with the Scottish Green Party, the Scottish Government has committed to undertaking an analysis to better understand our energy requirements as we transition to net zero. This analysis will include consideration of how these requirements align with our climate change targets and the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels, taking an approach that supports and protects our energy security and our highly skilled workforce whilst meeting our climate obligations. Sector analyses and modelling conducted for Scotland’s climate change plans show that nuclear, oil and gas can play a reducing role in Scotland’s energy system, and this is necessary as we move towards 2045 and our net zero legislated target. A move towards electric vehicles, heat pumps, and Hydrogen, all supported by vast increases in renewable generation, will reduce Scotland’s reliance on oil and gas.

2. Has the Scottish government factored into those assessments the effect of Independence?
The Scottish Government has committed, in our 2021/22 Programme for Government, to prepare a detailed prospectus for an independent Scotland, well in advance of a referendum, to allow the people of Scotland to make an informed choice over their future. This will include energy and consider future nuclear, oil and gas supply in the vision for Scotland’s energy future with full powers of independence.

3. Have these assessments looked at the likely cost of energy to consumers of the move away from coal, nuclear, oil and gas?
Renewable power is one of the lowest cost forms of energy, a point which has been reinforced by recent supply issues and fluctuating prices of oil and gas. Moving to an energy system powered by more and more renewables has the potential to have substantial effects on lowering consumer energy bills.

In line with the Committee on Climate Change’s 6th Carbon Budget, the Scottish Government recognises that over the medium to long-run, costs associated with building renewable generation can be more than offset by savings from less reliance on input fuels, and lower fossil fuel costs. As set out in the Heat in Buildings Strategy, to meet interim emissions reduction targets, the vast majority of the 170,000 homes currently using high emissions oil, LPG, and solid fuels, as well as at least 1 million homes using mains gas and the equivalent of 50,000 of Scotland’s non-domestic properties using fossil fuels must convert to zero emissions heating by 2030. The potential costs and benefits associated with the conversion to zero emissions heat are set out in the Heat in Buildings Strategy Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment.

4. What is the estimated time frame for Scotland to achieve no reliance on energy from nuclear, coal, oil and gas?
As per question 1 – it is our estimate that fossil fuels will play a reducing role in Scotland’ energy system over time. We will continue to assess this using the best available evidence and update our plans accordingly.

5. What assessments has the Scottish government made regarding the impact on jobs of the move away from nuclear, oil and gas energy sources?
As part of our work to develop our forthcoming Draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan –to be published for consultation Autumn 2022 – there are ongoing and supporting assessments regarding the economic and employment impacts of the transition to net zero.

6. Has the Scottish government considered the effect on employment in the North East of Scotland of this move and the Shetland Islands in particular?
As question 5 above, there are ongoing assessments of the impact on jobs arising from the transition to net zero which will feed into the Draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan. You may be interested in the recently published Making the Switch Report. This was prepared by the Energy Transition Institute at Robert Gordon University, and funded by the Scottish Government through the North East Economic Recovery and Skills Fund.

7. What plans does the Scottish government have for the production of "green" hydrogen and what is its assessment of how far that can offset reliance on nuclear, oil and gas sources of energy?
On 10 November 2021, the Scottish Government published a draft Hydrogen Action Plan. The Action Plan aims to ensure that we take the actions needed to ensure Scotland is in the best possible position to achieve our ambition of 5GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030 and 25GW by 2045. Following publication, a 10 week consultation on the draft Action Plan was conducted to allow stakeholders adequate time to provide their views and feedback on the draft plan and its associated impact assessments. Feedback gathered during the consultation will inform the final Hydrogen Action Plan, which will be published later in 2022.

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

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