Potential carbon abatement from the Scottish public sector: summary report

As part of the RPP2 process, we commissioned the Carbon Trust to estimate the carbon abatement potential of the Scottish public sector to 2030.

6 Longer Term Abatement Potential

This study has used two different approaches to estimate the abatement potential of the Scottish public sector. Both of these methods have used real life projects as evidence, and are thus bottom-up estimates rather than top-down assessments of overall abatement potential. Importantly, the processes and engagements that generated those projects are designed to identify near-term, largely cost-effective projects that are more likely to get implemented. They are not designed to identify the deep carbon reduction projects that will be necessary if long term (2050) decarbonisation targets are to be achieved.

Implementing all the projects underpinning these estimates will be challenging and will require a number of significant barriers to be addressed, as outlined in the previous section. It is hard to suggest a time-period over which these projects should be implemented, however, to inform the RPP2 process (which requires an estimate of abatement potential to around 2030) it could be assumed that these projects are all implemented by 2030. A more ambitious approach might be to target the implementation of all currently identified projects (which these by definition are) by 2020, with the focus between 2020 and 2030 moving on to deeper, longer term carbon reduction opportunities.

The measures identified in Carbon Management Plans and Close Out are biased towards short payback projects, which leaves considerable scope for additional carbon reduction from longer term projects, even from areas such as building fabric and renewables which are reasonably well represented in Close Out.

Estimating the potential savings from longer term projects is challenging. There is very little bottom-up evidence, especially from the public sector, to inform estimates of what is possible by way of deep carbon reduction. There are several sources of uncertainty: unknown penetration rates for advanced technologies; limited evidence about the impact of those technologies; uncertainty about what % of projects will really be implemented; and uncertainty about the supporting environment in the future including the strength of government targets and the provision of support.

Some important areas of future opportunity include:

  • New ways of using space and delivering services, including better space management, space rationalisation, shared services and provision of remote services;
  • Major retrofits including exploration of the opportunities in natural ventilation, waste heat recovery and long payback building fabric measures (re-cladding, glazing etc);
  • District heating and decentralised energy;
  • Procurement reforms.

The PowerPoint document contains some examples of the level of savings that may be possible in some of these areas.

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Published in the UK: November 2012.

© The Carbon Trust 2012. All rights reserved.


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