Appendix 2: External Workshop Summary
Please find below a brief summary of the key points raised by stakeholders during the external workshops, which were held across Scotland throughout November 2019:
Inverness Workshop & Islands Webinar
- There was a view amongst certain groups that the drive to localisation must mean something in practise.
- Concerns were also raised at the cost of this transition, and the need to ensure the most vulnerable in society are not paying it.
- There was also consensus between the participants that stakeholders could potentially struggle with the concept – for example, what does local energy actually look like in practise and what are the next steps in the journey to decentralisation?
- However, it was recognised that the Policy Statement would encourage stakeholders to mobilise and engage more in the local energy space than they have done so far.
- Further feedback included the recognition within the Policy Statement regarding a shift away from income generation to decarbonisation of an energy system which is more aligned to local need (particularly for community energy projects).
- While attendees were, generally, very supportive of the Policy Statement, a number of issues were raised and suggestions made. A summary of the key points raised are contained below:
- As well as more clarity around the language used (for example, less “buzz words” and technical language), it was felt that the outcomes required more detail.
- Demand reduction was recognised as being vitally important, and could be emphasised more throughout the document.
- Data gathering will help understand people/ consumers better, but there are issues surrounding data sharing.
- There was a belief that people will still want to retain an element of choice regarding their energy system, and changes should not be “forced” upon them.
- There was wide-spread agreement with the concept of a just transition, and the need to ensure no communities are left behind in the transition to net zero.
- The capacity and capabilities of SMEs was highlighted as a concern, and the need to provide support to organisations of this size in particular so they can engage more (and, subsequently, thrive) in the shift to decentralised local energy.
- There was a mixed response regarding local energy planning and LHEES. While some groups preferred a whole systems approach to energy planning, others welcomed the more targeted approach of LHEES.
- This workshop had a communities focus and, as such, much of the discussion focused on the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) contract and how this could support the transition to local energy.
- While there were a number of suggestions raised, there was agreement that CARES should have a decarbonisation focus i.e. a shift away from money and income generation.
- There was concern around the use of certain language throughout the Policy Statement, particularly around “economies”, “low regret” and “active consumers”.
- A wide-ranging discussion across all themes followed, including how consideration should be given to how jobs can be retained locally and what training could be provided to ensure communities have the necessary skills in place to take advantage.