Energy strategy: position statement

The Energy Strategy position statement provides an overview of our key priorities for the short to medium-term in ensuring a green economic recovery, whilst remaining aligned to our net zero ambitions, in the lead up to COP26.

Ministerial Foreword

The last year has been one of significant challenge for our country. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a health crisis which has created an economic one and all the while, the climate emergency has continued unabated. In this context, the need for a Just Transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, in a manner that supports sustainable economic growth and jobs in Scotland, is greater than ever. As we emerge from the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have a chance to build a greener, fairer and more equal society and economy, ensuring that no one is left behind. We have already sought to embed a green recovery as part of our most recent Programme for Government which focused on the creation of good, green jobs.

Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon was the first leader of any nation within the UK, and indeed among the first across the world, to declare the climate emergency and Scotland, now, has the most ambitious legislative framework for emissions reduction in the world and a particularly challenging interim target for 2030 – and this is underpinned by a legal commitment to deliver a just transition.

And the action we are taking to meet those targets is already having a significant impact. We have more than halved our greenhouse gas emissions since Scotland's 1990 baseline and, in their 2020 Scottish Progress Report, the Committee on Climate Change observed: "the Scottish economy has decarbonised more quickly than rest of the UK & faster than any G20 economy since 2008. Emissions have fallen rapidly while the economy has grown".

We also recently published a Climate Change Plan Update (CCPu) which sets out our pathway to world-leading 2032 targets and includes over a hundred new policies, and boosts or accelerates more than 40 others, from the 2018 Climate Change Plan.

Given our ambition and progress, it is apt that Glasgow should host the crucially important United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) in November this year. The Scottish Government looks forward to a successful COP26 which delivers increased global ambition to reach net zero in a way that is fair and just and to constrain global average temperature increases to less than 1.5 degree Celsius. Our ambitious targets of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and a 75% reduction by 2030 have reaffirmed Scotland's place as a global leader in climate action, and our commitment to working with friends across Europe and the rest of the world to raise climate ambition makes clear the important role the Scottish Government has to play in COP26. The COP will be a chance to demonstrate to the world how uniquely well placed Scotland is to contribute to tackling the global climate emergency including in areas such as developing and delivering nature based solutions, ensuring a just transition and, crucially, in addressing the energy quadrilemma through transition within our energy sector.

Scotland continues to make excellent progress in areas such as renewable electricity generation with, in 2019, Scotland's renewable electricity generation having grown to such an extent that it was able to meet the equivalent of 90% of Scotland's gross electricity consumption.

This tremendous progress reflects the huge strides we have taken over the past two decades in the development of onshore and, more recently, offshore wind, as well as our legacy in the production of hydro-electric power. The potential remains for much more renewable capacity and development across Scotland – not only from the sources mentioned above, but also from the large scale deployment of floating offshore wind, islands wind projects, wave and tidal technologies, and solar PV.

Last year also saw Scotland become the first country in the UK to publish a hydrogen strategy, through our Hydrogen Policy Statement, setting out our vision for Scotland to become a leading Hydrogen Nation in both deployment of hydrogen within our energy system and for generation of significant volumes of hydrogen for export to markets such as the rest of UK, and partner nations on the European mainland. In February, we published our draft Heat in Buildings Strategy setting out our vision for decarbonising heating in all Scotland's homes and non-domestic buildings, as well as near-term actions we are taking. The scale of the challenge is significant and will require action across sectors and in all parts of society. We remain committed to taking a whole systems approach to the heat transition, in line with our Energy Strategy.

All of this and more demonstrates the significant progress Scotland is making in decarbonisation and our ambitions to go far further. However if we are to achieve our net zero greenhouse emissions targets, and to successfully deliver a green economic recovery, there are significant barriers that must be overcome - not least the fact that Scotland does not have all the powers it needs to reach net zero. We continue to call on the UK Government to work with us and to take action in key energy policy areas, which remain reserved including aspects of the decarbonisation of heat, regulatory and financial instruments to accelerate the full deployment of Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) in Scotland, support for the decarbonisation of Scotland's energy-intensive industries, and the substantial regional security of supply issues that have developed across the UK over the past decade.

Similarly, while we broadly welcome the content of the UK Government's Energy White Paper (2020), we continue to seek further clarity on the implications of measures set out in the White Paper, for Scotland.

I am delighted to publish our Energy Strategy Position Statement which aims to provide our stakeholders with a clear overview of our policies in relation to energy as we look forward to a successful COP26 in November 2021. It reinforces our commitment to remain guided by the key principles set out in Scotland's Energy Strategy in 2017 as we move forward and the importance the Scottish Government attaches to supporting the energy sector in our journey towards Net Zero, whilst ensuring a green, fair and resilient recovery for the Scottish economy.



Back to top