Net zero : Investor Panel minutes - March 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 28 March 2023.

Attendees and apologies


  • Angus Macpherson
  • Baroness Margaret Ford
  • Gavin Templeton
  • John Watson
  • Judith Cruickshank
  • Andrew Telfer


  • Willie Watt, Scottish National Invetsment Bank


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


  • Ian Cochran
  • Dimitris Andriosopoulos
  • Pawel Czarnowski


  • Alexandra Basirov
  • Shane Corstorphine
  • Michael McGhee
  • Peter Reekie 

Items and actions

Welcome, introductions and apologies

Appointment of the new First Minister

Richard Rollison outlined the timetable around the appointment of the new First Minister and stressed the continued importance of the Panel’s work. The need for the public and private sector to work together to address the global challenges we face and the need to attract private sector investment around the physical infrastructure needed to support our just transition to net zero is extremely likely to remain a priority for the First Minister and Scottish Government.

It is hoped that the new First Minister will meet with the Panel’s Co-chair/Executive Committee over the coming months.

Working group updates 

Working group 1 – market intelligence (lead – Angus Macpherson)

Structured discussions have been taking place with investors and asset managers to establish views and opinions on investing in Scotland. Discussions continue and have broadly been welcomed by the investor community as a positive approach from Government to understand and engage with investors. There is a real opportunity to build strong investor relationships and ensure the investor voice is heard by Government from the outset to help inform and develop policy.

Investors are increasingly aware of the huge opportunities around ScotWind but less aware of Scotland’s value driven approach to investment and the wider opportunities Scotland has to offer. We need to ensure Scotland offers a seamless investor experience, through a landscape that is easy to navigate. 

Working group 2 – investment environment (lead – Margaret Ford) 

Successful jurisdictions have highly effective investor engagement and facilitate the ease of doing business. Building a greater understanding of how investment bankers operate amongst politicians and across Government and its agencies would be welcome and would facilitate a greater opportunity to build strong knowledge, expertise and networks. 

Infrastructure investment is usually not speculative, but long term conservative capital so markets need to feel comfortable that Government has a long term strategy and commitment with policy reflecting this. Government policy should facilitate investment and the most effective way to do this is to bring commercial perspective to early stage policy development.

Challenges around consents and planning have emerged as an early theme with timescales, process and bureaucracy causing hurdles and delays. It was noted that planning issues are pertinent to other countries so there is an opportunity for Scotland to gain competitive advantage. The Working Group are exploring examples of best practice including the approach to prioritising critical infrastructure.

Working group 3 – deep dive (lead – Gavin Templeton)

Using ScotWind, Hydrogen and Heat as examples, the group is considering how Scotland might attract more internationally mobile capital. The group is exploring existing activity across Government and its agencies including interdependencies with ScotWind leases and supply chain, the Hydrogen Action Plan and the Green Heat Finance Taskforce. 


Discussions will be progressed with ScotWind developers, OEMs, ports, service providers etc to identify headwinds and levers. The group will also engage further with the UK and SG Governments to better understand how governments can incentivise investment given the current challenges around returns.

Whilst the technology is at an early stage the group will explore the opportunities around floating offshore wind.

We know oil and gas companies are looking at transitioning services, however there is significant competition from their core business. The group will explore skills gaps, and opportunities. 


There is already a significant amount of work underway both at national and regional level on hydrogen so discussions have focused on gathering information to best understand how the Investor Panel can complement existing activity. 

The group will engage with Hydrogen experts to explore the scale and scope of hydrogen opportunities over the short, medium and long term and engage further with the Green Heat Finance Taskforce. The group will also seek to engage the CEO of the UK Climate Change Committee.

Early conversations have highlighted the need to ensure good coordination and communication between investors/stakeholders and the Scottish Government.

Planning, consents and procurement have emerged as a theme and there is evidence that clear, transparent and predictable planning processes can attract more renewable investment. 

The use of incentives will be considered and how effective these might be in attracting investment, skills and talent to Scotland. The group will look at skills provision around future opportunities and how Scotland can ensure we have the necessary skills to maximise future growth opportunities. 

Heat in Buildings 

This is a diverse challenge and getting private investors involved depends on providing solutions to manage risks and returns, particularly risk associated with other infrastructure investment, around construction. 

There are also challenges unique to heat networks such as managing future heat demand.

The group is exploring how smaller transactions can be aggregated to provide projects of scale which might attract institutional investors.

For both household and SME energy efficiency, access to capital remains a challenge, and there is significant potential to explore lending models. 

Next steps

Work will continue to develop recommendations and conclusions and evidence to support these.

Next meeting

The Panel is scheduled to meet again on 20 June 2023

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