To meet our 2030 interim climate change target, at least 1 million Scottish homes and the equivalent of 50,000 non-domestic buildings will need to change their heating system for a zero carbon one. This will not be easy, and will require a level of leadership and coordination of the wider heat decarbonisation landscape that we have not seen to date in Scotland.
That is why we are committed to establishing a new National Public Energy Agency, as set out in our 2021/22 Programme for Government. This new body will form a central part of how we will implement our ambitious programme outlined in Scotland's Heat in Buildings Strategy, which we published last month (7 October).
However, in recognition of the urgency and need for action to be taken now to begin ramping up delivery of energy efficiency retrofit and zero emissions heat installations, we will launch a virtual Agency by September 2022. This will initially be co-ordinated internally in the Scottish Government, and we will look at using existing resources to provide advice and information to people seeking to make a change in response to the heat decarbonisation agenda in the early stages of transition. We will then consider the structure and governance of the organisation, and the skills and expertise that will be necessary to have a permanent agency in place by the end of this Parliamentary session.
This early Call for Evidence represents the first stage in a process of open and transparent collaboration across the Scottish heat decarbonisation landscape in development of the new dedicated Agency by 2025.
I am committed to ensuring that the Agency is designed to be people-centred, with a clear focus on embedding the principles of a Just Transition in all that it does to progress delivery on our targets. This can only be realised through ensuring that a range of interests and the needs of different stakeholders and consumers who will need to respond to the heat decarbonisation transition are identified, and can inform design of the new body.
To support anyone considering responding to this Call for Evidence – or who wish to generally find out more about our current thinking and future opportunities to be involved in supporting development of the new Agency – we will be running a short series of open webinars in the near year. I strongly encourage anyone interested to engage in this process – we are keen to hear a diverse range of views, experiences and insights that can meaningfully help shape what this new, significant public body will mean – and be able to do – for each of us living in Scotland as we, as a nation, come together to tackle one of the greatest challenges of our era.
Michael Matheson MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy & Transport
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