Scottish energy strategy: Scotland's Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP)

The 15 to 20 year programme is the cornerstone of Scottish government's approach to energy efficiency, a National Infrastructure Priority.

3. Aims and Objectives of SEEP

2050 Vision - Scotland's buildings are near zero carbon by 2050 and this is achieved in a way that is socially and economically sustainable.

25. SEEP aims to reduce the energy demand, and decarbonise the heating of, Scotland's built environment in a way that is socially and economically sustainable. The commitment in the Energy Strategy and Climate Change Plan means that we now need to go beyond current ambitions in order to deliver the much more challenging targets for decarbonisation of heat supply and reduction of energy demand across all our buildings. SEEP is the Scottish Government's main policy vehicle to achieve this and to help tackle fuel poverty.

26. The Scottish Government's Climate Change Plan sets out the overarching, cost-effective, emissions-reduction pathways for SEEP, which indicate that, to meet our overall climate targets as set in legislation, emissions from our domestic buildings would need to fall by 75% and from our non-domestic buildings by 98%, by 2032, on 2014 levels. In order to deliver the required emission reduction the Climate Change Plan sets a series of policy outcomes, which SEEP has adopted as its objectives, and are as follows:

  • by 2032 94% [6] of non-domestic buildings' and 80% [7] of domestic buildings' heat is supplied using low carbon heat technologies; and
  • improvements to the fabric of Scotland's non-domestic buildings results in a 10% reduction, and Scotland's domestic buildings results in a 6% reduction, in their heat demand by 2032.

27. In addition the Programme will also support delivery of the Scottish Government's new Fuel Poverty Strategy as this is developed.

28. In addition to the above objectives, the draft Energy Strategy is also seeking views on whether we should set a new 2030 energy efficiency target for Scotland and how best to reflect the EU ambition to implement an EU-wide 30% energy efficiency improvement by 2030.

29. The Climate Change Plan sets out clearly that both demand reduction measures (primarily through fabric improvements to buildings, or process improvements to equipment) and heat decarbonisation measures will need to operate together. This will be a huge challenge to deliver over the duration of SEEP, and means that the near-zero carbon approach that we are already moving towards for new buildings, needs to be considered for existing buildings as well. Clearly, this level of emissions reduction cannot be achieved through heat demand reduction alone, hence the approach that SEEP aims to take in integrating the decarbonisation of heat with energy efficiency measures. However, given that the vast majority of Scotland's buildings are heated by gas or heating oil, and since these are reserved matters, the Climate Change Plan recognises that decisions on the future decarbonisation of the gas network will be taken by the UK Government and that this is unlikely to happen until after 2020. The Climate Change Plan recognises that installation of low carbon heating solutions such as renewable heat will continue to increase throughout the Plan period, however the greatest shift away from gas is unlikely to take place until after 2025. The Climate Change Plan therefore prioritises demand reduction measures in the period from now until 2025, after which we expect there to be a clear decision on the future of gas in the UK.

30. In making a commitment to energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority through SEEP, the Scottish Government recognises the multiple benefits that can, and must, accrue from a programme of this magnitude and duration. These benefits not only include substantive contributions to meeting our climate change targets through the decarbonisation of heat and reduced energy demand, but also offer significant wider economic, social, health and regeneration benefits. These include:

  • measures to make our homes warmer and places of work more comfortable, promoting more affordable energy for consumers, helping to tackle fuel poverty and improving the competitiveness of the Scottish economy,
  • the opportunity to create a substantial Scottish market and supply chain for energy efficiency services and technologies, with an estimated 4,000 jobs per annum, once fully operation, across Scotland, including in remote areas, based on initial estimated minimum investment in excess of £10 billion. [8]
  • measurable health and early years improvements through people living in warmer homes
  • regeneration of communities through upgraded building stock, and
  • substantially reduced greenhouse gas emissions contributing to meeting our ambitious climate change targets.

Consultation questions

  • How can Scotland best meet this vision and underpinning objectives in a way that is both socially and economically sustainable and supports long-term inclusive growth?
  • We would welcome stakeholders' views on how to set appropriate milestones for energy efficiency improvement and heat decarbonisation of buildings to ensure that the level of emissions reduction ambition ( i.e. near-zero carbon buildings) is achieved.


Email: SEEP Consultation Mailbox

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