Net zero: Investor Panel minutes - December 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 12 December 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister, Co-chair
  • Angus Macpherson, Co-chair
  • Ivan Mckee MSP, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise
  • Andrew Telfer 
  • Alexandra Basirov
  • John Watson
  • Shane Corstorphine
  • Gavin Templeton


  • Peter Reekie, Scottish Futures Trust
  • Willie Watt, Scottish National Investment Bank


  • Richard Rollison, Scottish Government
  • Martin McCloskey, Scottish Government


  • Baroness Margaret Ford
  • Judith Cruikshank
  • Michael McGhee

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions


The First Minister noted the scale of investment required to support a just transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 particularly around the physical infrastructure required. There is a need to mobilise and work in collaboration between the public and private sector to leverage the scale of investment needed. 

FM asked the Panel to consider how Scotland can compete globally to attract the investment needed and asked the Panel to provide challenge where necessary.

Panel members present agreed the Terms of Reference and it was noted that members who were unable to attend had agreed the ToR via email.


The Panel reflected on investment markets and experiences investing in Scottish, UK and international markets and the Panel then discussed their own experiences.

The discussion highlighted the opportunity to drive markets by creating a regulatory environment that is attractive to investors. To do this Panel members agreed there was a need to build strong relationships between the public and private sectors with appropriate engagement from an early stage to inform policy, regulatory development and delivery mechanisms.

There are three key considerations to attract investment: 

  • promote opportunities 
  • incentivise investment 
  • remove barriers

Scotland’s size very much provides an opportunity we can exploit. Small countries can move fast to respond to market opportunities and this attracts investors who are often discouraged by delays. We can use regulation to provide us with competitive advantage.

We also need to understand future market opportunities and, critically, build skills capacity and capability to ensure we have a skilled workforce to provide confidence for investment and delivery.

All of this supports building credible pathways to better articulate and communicate investable propositions to global investors and promote Scotland’s unique selling points.

Scottish Futures Trust (SFT)/Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB)

Willie Watt noted that one of the areas SNIB is currently focused on is maximising opportunities around the ScotWind supply chain. Namely, the importance of investing early to ensure the supply chain is in place to retain maximum economic opportunities here in Scotland. 

Peter Reekie emphasised the power of regulation to provide certainty and incentivise investment.


The panel discussed the themes and sectors they might focus on. The panel agreed that they should focus on the following three key areas :


The panel highlighted the work that has already taken place to transform Scotland’s energy supply and the announcements earlier in 2022 around the successful applications for ScotWind leasing. 

If Scotland is to secure maximum benefits from offshore opportunities, early and targeted investment in the supply chain is essential and provides an opportunity for Scotland to realise first mover advantage. We can learn from the advanced nature of onshore activity.

Green hydrogen

It was recognised that Scotland has a real opportunity longer term around hydrogen and that there is a potential demand from other European countries. Scotland is well placed in terms of proximity and infrastructure connectivity to countries that are unlikely to be able to produce enough renewable hydrogen to meet their own decarbonisation requirements. This presents an opportunity for Scotland to develop a role as an exporter of hydrogen and maximise opportunities in the development of hydrogen in the UK, European and international markets. 

It was also noted that ScotWind will benefit from Hydrogen as a key route to market. 

Heat in buildings

If we are to deliver net zero emissions heat across Scotland’s building stock, we will need to ensure appropriate supplies of low carbon energy and the appropriate infrastructure to deliver it. Heat networks were identified as an area the Panel might consider exploring further.


The panel and working groups will take cognisance of work already taking place within Scottish Government, SFT and SNIB particularly through the ScotWind leasing process, Hydrogen Action Plan and the Green Heat Finance Taskforce. However, the panel’s focus will be on the investment challenges, avoiding duplication.

Summary of discussions

Workstreams/working groups/frequency

The panel agreed that three working groups should be formed to progress the workstreams. 

  • working group 1 - market intelligence - consider how the Scottish Government can gain better market intelligence to support investment
  • working group 2 – investment environment - consider the existing business environment in Scotland and provide recommendations on how regulation and policy can support investment
  • working group 3 – using three sectors as examples, consider how Scotland might attract more internationally mobile capital particularly around infrastructure investment to support our transition to net zero. The three sectors agreed are: i. Scotwind ii. Hydrogen iii. Heat in buildings

All groups will take cognisance of Scottish Government, SFT and SNIB work, and that of other agencies, around ScotWind, Hydrogen and Heat and will engage with other agencies and experts as required.

The groups might reach out to academia for international and domestic research that might inform the work. The working groups will each have the ability to involve additional expertise as they see fit.

Scottish Government officials will also provide support to the working groups and the Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise will also attend when possible.


The panel agreed to meet again in March 2023 with the working groups meeting as required between now and March and concluding by late summer 2023.

FM advised that she will attend the last meeting of the panel but will be regularly updated by the Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise.


The panel agreed to provide recommendations in writing for Ministers to consider. The panel will not provide a formal report or strategy.

The panel also agreed to provide any interim recommendations sooner if it might prove useful to implement earlier.


FM thanked participants for attending and encouraged the panel to provide frank and candid recommendations. She noted she looks forward to seeing the work of the panel moving forward and brought the meeting to a close.

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