Publication - Minutes

Scottish Energy Advisory Board minutes: March 2021

Published: 15 Oct 2021
Date of meeting: 18 Mar 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 18 March 2021.

Published:
15 Oct 2021
Scottish Energy Advisory Board minutes: March 2021

Attendees and apologies

Co-chairs

  • Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands
  • Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal & Vice-Chancellor, University of Strathclyde

Members in attendance

  • Brian McFarlane, Co-Chair, Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council
  • Claire Mack, Chief Executive Scottish Renewables, Co-chair Renewable Energy SLG
  • Professor Keith Bell, Co-Chair Energy Networks SLG
  • Melfort Campbell, Co-Chair Oil and Gas and Energy Transition SLG
  • Lewis Shand-Smith, Chair Energy Consumers Commission
  • Charlotte Wright, Chief Executive HIE
  • Linda Hanna, Chief Executive Scottish Enterprise
  • Jane Morrison-Ross, Chief Executive South of Scotland Enterprise
  • Frank Mitchell, Chair Skills Development Scotland
  • Rozanne Foyer, General Secretary STUC
  • Deirdre Michie, CEO Oil & Gas UK
  • John Morea, CEO SGN
  • Colette Cohen, CEO OGTC
  • Mike Smith, CEO NECCUS
  • Keith Anderson, Chief Executive Scottish Power
  • Matt Sykes, Managing Director Generation EDF
  • Charles Hammond, CEO Forth Ports
  • Andrew Jamieson, Chief Executive ORE Catapult
  • Keith MacLean, Founder and Director Providence Policy
  • Dave Pearson, Director Star Renewable Energy

Scottish Government attendees

  • Kersti Berge, Director of Energy and Climate Change
  • William Black, Head of Energy Consents
  • Margo Maciver, Head of CCUS, Hydrogen, Onshore Oil and Gas
  • Stuart McKay, Head of Hydrogen Policy
  • Madeleine Plater, SEAB Secretariat
  • Jill Rosie, SEAB Secretariat
  • Lewis Todd, SEAB Secretariat
  • Michael Reilly, SEAB Secretariat

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Sir Jim welcomes everyone and passes to the minister

Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands opened the meeting thanking all members for attending the first SEAB meeting of 2021 and made the following opening comments:

  • passed on apologies from the First Minister who was unable to attend the meeting
  • this is the first meeting of SEAB with updated membership to support the Scottish Government in the delivery of the energy strategy and support a green economic recovery from COVID-19
  • welcomed new members
    • Professor Keith Bell, Co-Chair of Energy Networks SLG
    • Brian McFarlane, Co-Chair of SOWEC
    • Collette Cohen, OGTC
    • Mike Smith NECCUS
    • Jane Morrison-Ross, South of Scotland Enterprise
    • Charlotte Wright, Highlands and Islands Enterprise
    • Linda Hanna, Scottish Enterprise
    • Keith MacLean, Providence Policy
    • Dave Pearson, STAR Renewables
  • acknowledged COP26 was a common theme through recent participation in SLG meetings
  • Scottish Government published its Energy Strategy Position Statement on 16 March 2021 which provides an overview of our support for the energy sector in the lead up to COP26 and shows how recent publications support the Climate Change Plan Update
  • the Minister’s intention if re-elected, would be to refresh the Energy Strategy in 2021, preferably before COP26 in November 2021

Sir Jim McDonald provided his opening comments:

  • noted apologies from the following members:
    • Fintan Slye, Director, National Grid ESO
    • Alistair Phillips Davies, Chief Executive, SSE
    • Ian Marchant, CEO, Dunelm Energy

Announcement of the outcomes from the Offshore Wind Options – resonance with another commission from SOWEC – discussions on supply chain opportunities for wind sector in Scotland.

Thanked Kersti Berge, Director of Energy and Climate Change at the Scottish Government for the Government’s ongoing commitment, support, and investment in the Energy Technology Partnership (ETP) research programmes which involves 13 Universities and 1200 academics. They are currently setting the agenda for 24 new PHD students.

ETP raised they have established a Hydrogen theme across the whole Scottish University sector, and a new business development plan is being created.

Minutes and matters arising

Sir Jim noted no matters arising from last meeting, invited members to raise any points.

Action

Rozanne Foyer asked for an amendment of the minutes from the last meeting to include to her as attendee

Task force for economic recovery in the energy sector update

Sir Jim provided some opening remarks for the item:

  • three members of the Task Force were in attendance
    • Keith Anderson
    • Deirdre Michie
    • Claire Mack
  • the Task Force was commissioned by Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Economy Fair Work and Culture
  • driving force for setting up the Task Force was to overcome barriers in project investments and job creation across the energy sector
  • Sir Jim agreed to chair the Task Force to ensure a clear link was established with SEAB
  • important that the Task Force was business led and that clear propositions emerged from the work, industry engagement has been pivotal
  • focused on small group of industry representatives, but clear from start that this needed to be presented to SEAB
  • exciting projects have come out of the work so far with a broad front, all of which have a strong economic underpinning
  • actions which follow this business plan are key – a coherent private and public sector narrative will be intrinsic to the success of the business plan and associated projects

Sir Jim passed to Keith Anderson who made the following comments:

  • concept was to bring forward a business plan for future investment in Scotland’s energy sector which could be used as a collaborative plan that other parties can buy into, including the UKG and Ofgem
  • wanted to ensure it was not seen as a lobbying or political document
  • SEAB can be a useful forum to bring the Task Force business plan through for endorsement and to allow it to be taken forward by other audiences
  • used to identify short term work to reignite the economy in line with the Green Recovery
  • the plan is not about individual companies or projects – they are examples of what can be done – there is a need to look at how to open up and bring in other work
  • the nature of the projects can help map out what we can do now, and identify others that can be accelerated
  • important that Scottish government, UK government and regulatory bodies are all bought into the ideas in the business plan
  • speed is of the essence if we want to kick start the economic recovery

Keith Anderson asked SEAB to consider the following:

  • endorse the business plan and take responsibility for the oversight of the delivery of some of these projects
  • as a collective to present the plan to Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy and Jonathan Brearley Chief Executive of Ofgem. Invite them to a future SEAB meeting to demonstrate the benefits to Scotland and the UK of delivering this business plan and identify ways to unlock the mechanisms to aid delivery
  • in the past it has been too easy for plans to get caught up in responsibilities and controls. The power of this is it is a joint business plan – doing it together will be more persuasive

Sir Jim thanked Keith for his contributions and highlighted that SEAB had a successful working group, and noted the great work Madeleine Plater from the Scottish Government did to coordinate the development of the business plan.

Sir Jim passed to Deirdre Michie who made the following comments:

  • reinforced the need for collective ownership and accountability for this work, and the importance that it is presented as joint plan from government and industry which reinforces commitment and benefits
  • positioning and optimising for COP26 planning and the spending review – need to move at pace now if we are going to be effective at those events
  • OGUK support plan as it sheds a clear light on opportunities
  • important for sector recovery and the role of energy supply security in Just Transition
  • important to acknowledge the alignment in the Task Force business plan with the North Sea Transition Deal which is currently being negotiated with the UK government
  • Sir Jim reinforced the view that SEAB would take on an overview role with the Task Force Business Plan and agreed that it would be important to invite Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy and Jonathan Brearley Chief Executive of Ofgem, in due course, to SEAB
  • he opened the discussion to other members for comments
  • Claire Mack congratulated everyone involved in the creation of the business plan and made the following comments:
    • confirmed Scottish Renewables commitment to the business plan, the size and scale of the proposed projects are very important in the context of the Green Recovery
    • looking forward as co-chair of Renewable Energy SLG to taking forward the monitoring and accountability role
    • plea to continue our thinking on these projects. This started with short term quick win projects. There is a need to move forward with small scale developments also where elements are more atomised and are operated by SMEs and communities
    • driving forward small scale place based low carbon renewable projects which SMEs can be engaged in would ensure an all economy transition
    • need to work with skills agencies on business plan
  • Keith Bell asked about the value in conducting economic appraisal to support the business plan. He also noted that expansion of the sector is reliant on having people with the right skills – not having access to enough people with the right skills might be barrier
  • framing of benefits of business plan to UK or GB consumers would help to overcome some barriers
  • Melfort Campbell noted that Enterprise investment needs to proceed ahead of the strategic level capital investment. Line of sight for enterprise sector is very important and currently missing from the business plan. Government doesn’t understand the need for secondary and tertiary levels of investment
  • opportunity with offshore wind
  • can’t find anywhere how many billion barrels of oil will be needed to see us through the energy transition. 25 billion would be vital to transition – need to make this central to plans
  • John Morea said the decarbonising of heat agenda looks to be focused on electrification in the business plan and questioned whether that the signal we want to send
  • SGN is pushing Hydrogen for domestic heating and Scottish Government has provided funding for a Hydrogen project in Fife – concerning that we’re not keeping these options open
  • the Minister made it clear that the Scottish government is very supportive of Hydrogen and assured the heating agenda has not been narrowed down to electrification only
  • Sir Jim assured John Morea that with the business plan coming through SEAB there would be opportunities to evolve plans with SGN and other stakeholder involvement
  • Andrew Jamieson noted that there are a lot of opportunities which ORE Catapult can help with – collaboration is key and speed is of the essence with European competition already moving quickly
  • need evidence now for the Secretary of State for BEIS “Innovation Strategy” which they are readying for June 2021
  • Charlotte Wright flagged that the importance of ports and harbours needs to be included in the enabling infrastructure section – challenging to unlock investment opportunities but critical
  • highlighted islands projects including the islands interconnector
  • endorsed Claire Mack’s comment on place based opportunities and SMEs
  • Linda Hanna confirmed the business plan has endorsement from Scottish Enterprise – good to see that it is action focused
  • timing – in context of Scotland competing in the UK market this is very important and we can’t afford to wait
  • how do we monitor progress of the business plan projects?
  • SE will be behind this, investment agenda around SMEs very important
  • reiterated the point on based infrastructure, particularly ports
  • Rozanne Foyer stated that jobs are what the economic recovery is all about, glad to see the business plan reflects this
  • Just Transition is key theme of the plan, the Just Transition Commission Report published on 23 March 2021 needs to be taken into account
  • quality of jobs – would like to see an aspiration for fair work included in the business plan under results and outcomes
  • element of conditionality – good jobs on fair work principles
  • Frank Mitchell highlights the issues of Skill shortages
  • transition of training in oil and gas – need to look at timeline for this
  • SDS have sector specialist to support
  • Charles Hammond noted that it was good to see such a pro-business document - happy to endorse and highlighted the need to show total cohesion as areas like Teeside and Humber are moving forward quickly
  • Lewis Shand-Smith welcomed the business plan, good to have everything in one place
  • noted on the Just Transition – not just about transition to new jobs but also transition for the citizens of Scotland – what is the customer value for proposition and how do we engage with customers
  • potential piece of work for Energy Consumers Commission to do alongside
  • Matt Sykes added his support, and highlighted the need for collaboration and to keep the momentum up
  • Keith Anderson raised that if any project or project theme is not in the business plan it does not mean that it will not be considered. This is a short sharp business plan that highlights blockages in system that as a group we can unlock
  • points on skills, jobs, new technology are very valid and can happen alongside this – if we broaden too much we will miss the point, need something that can be used quickly.
  • agree that further analysis on economic value will be helpful, but needs to be high-level
  • Sir Jim highlighted this is a sharp end proposition and there is a short window of next couple of months to make an impact – this will become a living part of SEAB and can give direct line of sight for investment into Scotland
  • Brian Macfarlane also noted that Transmission Network Use of System charges should be a key part of the business plan

Outcome

Sir Jim posed the following propositions to SEAB:

  • asked members if they are happy to endorse the draft business plan? Membership unanimously agreed
  • suggested that SEAB take on an oversight and monitoring role for the business plan, and that SEAB puts its collective weight behind it. Membership unanimously agreed

Action

  • invite Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy and Jonathan Brearley Chief Executive of Ofgem in due course to SEAB
  • the Minister noted that it would be a good idea to present the information to Secretary of State for BEIS and Ofgem as a united front

Hydrogen

The Minister opened the session on Hydrogen with the following comments:

  • Scotland has an opportunity to transition to clean hydrogen which will help us meet our emissions targets and allow us to develop a role as a hydrogen exporter
  • the Hydrogen Policy Statement (HPS) was published on 21 December 2020
  • the HPS set out Scotland’s support for blue and green hydrogen
  • hydrogen is a vital part of Scotland’s energy transition and decarbonisation plans
  • export ambitions would be achieved in the main by unlocking Scotland’s vast offshore wind potential, resulting we hope in Scotland producing large-scale, ‘green hydrogen’ that is competitively priced within a growing European market
  • economic impact scenarios as part of the Scottish Hydrogen Assessment Project suggest that in the most ambitious scenario, establishing Scotland as an exporter of hydrogen to Europe and the UK could result in a £25 billion (bn) annual gross contribution to Scotland’s Gross Value Added (GVA) with over 300,000 jobs supported by 2045
  • £100 million funding towards the development of the hydrogen economy in Scotland over the next five year period
  • Hydrogen Action Plan will be published in 2021, and Actions to support and secure Scottish content in the Hydrogen value chain and supply chain will be a key feature of the action plan
  • on the International front we can see that global interest in hydrogen is developing rapidly. Ministers have been engaging with key partners including the Secretary General of Hydrogen Europe and leading Ministers and industry leaders in this space across Europe to establish important relationships which are particularly relevant in the run up to COP 26 in Glasgow

The Minister passed to Margo MacIver Head of CCUS, Hydrogen, Onshore Oil and Gas at the Scottish Government to provide an overview of the session. Margo provided the following comments:

  • the Hydrogen Policy Statement provides a framework for the Hydrogen Action Plan which will hopefully be published this Summer
  • the Hydrogen Action Plan will have a 5 year horizon, and is supported by £100 million investment programme
  • a need to focus on right actions and stimulus to support Scottish supply chain activity, and drive the development of a low cost Hydrogen capability to meet initial ambition of 5GW of renewable and low carbon hydrogen by 2030
  • the Hydrogen Action Plan will highlight a number of ways to accelerate the economy which will be science, engineering, and research and innovation based
    • these considerations will include how permitting is done correctly, and how do we work with the UK Government to develop the right business environment for an emerging hydrogen economy
  • the Hydrogen Action Plan will be a companion document to the Hydrogen Policy Statement, and will include:
    • supportive actions the Government will take to drive increased hydrogen production
    • support for hydrogen use for heat, transport, and industry
    • and penetration of hydrogen within the energy system
  • development of the Hydrogen Research and Innovation project is key to delivering 5GW of renewable and low carbon hydrogen by 2030
  • an international outreach programme will be delivered which will set out the approach to further development of international partnerships, including engagement with other governments
  • a coordinated approach is being fostered by the Scottish Government, the physical and regulatory integration of large scale hydrogen production into our energy system is being explored
  • regional assets such as ports and harbours, and industrial complexes will be key drivers in the large scale hydrogen value chain and we continue to engage with UK Government on the development of supportive regulatory frameworks
  • the UK Government announcement that Scottish Net Zero Infrastructure Initiative was among the successful recipients of £171 million industrial decarbonisation fund was welcomed
  • £31 million awarded to develop a major package of work to progress important low carbon infrastructure including the completion of the engineering work to move Acorn CCUS and hydrogen work to a final investment decision
    • development of new CCUS power station at Peterhead which will become an early customer for the Acorn infrastructure
  • action plan work in progress, there are a breadth of areas where intervention is needed to drive the hydrogen economy forward and develop the supply chain. Actions may include:
    • targeted funding for pre-commercial projects
    • deliver actions which will drive forward commercial projects
    • accelerate demand with an initial focus on low regret interventions to help accelerate hydrogen demand in Transport and Industrial applications
    • support existing supply chain including development of skills and manufacturing capacity
    • drive research and innovation in green investment opportunities
    • deliver market and regulatory planning framework

Sir Jim thanked Margo for the presentation and opened the plenary session:

  • Keith Maclean highlighted the work he has done on business models for hydrogen through research that Frontier Economics did for BEIS – some points which have come from this are:
  • transport – price advantages at the time being for moving to hydrogen. The need for subsidy in this area is much lower. Number of Scottish councils have already done a lot of work on this including Aberdeen
  • blending – encouraging blending means reducing price and supply risk. Using FITs or RHI for biogas as a template gives a simple model which more likely to happen commercially
  • noted that Scotland’s 5GW ambition is equal to total UK ambition
  • the Minister noted that Germany has a 5GW target also which puts Scotland’s ambitions in perspective
  • Colette Cohen noted the huge opportunity for the diversification of the oil and gas industry including skills
  • when delivering hydrogen with existing technology, one of the biggest challenges has been cost. There is a requirement for innovation in hydrogen generation. Want to see if this is truly going to become an opportunity as an alternate fuel – if so cost of generation needs to dramatically reduce
  • transporting and using hydrogen, need to look at this holistically to roadmap end to end
  • creating green hydrogen at the proposed levels will require a huge amount of wind power

Action

Sir Jim noted the need to take a systems perspective, and asked to be reminded to circulate a Royal Academy of Engineering document on the systemic perspective of hydrogen.

  • Mike Smith noted that this is fundamentally important in three areas
  • do more to stimulate the demand – reminded of early days of offshore wind where mechanisms were put in place to stimulate the progress in the technology. The difference being that was an energy system which existed, this is a whole new energy system
  • natural strengths – need to look at the development of wind where green hydrogen is built in from the start
  • integrate the value chain - need to crack the transmission issue. Lean into organisations like SGN and National Grid take the advantage established gas pipelines from the north to the central belt. These pipes could be repurposed for hydrogen transport relatively easily
  • Brian MacFarlane emphasised the opportunity with offshore wind to achieve the hydrogen targets and generally support the supply chain. We have a huge amount of capacity available but it needs support to achieve it’s potential
  • for example for previous allocation round two Scottish projects were successful, for future allocation rounds there are three Scottish projects going for funding allocation with around 2GW of capacity available in the near term which can help support these plans
  • Linda Hanna made some points on how these opportunities can be realised. Need to join upstream, midstream and downstream opportunities together. Generation, transport, and use of hydrogen - needs to be clear what this looks like in Scotland
  • practically what are opportunities for businesses, SMEs and public sector
  • public procurement to create an early market which drives the supply chain is important
  • starting to see this in transport for example hydrogen powered ferries and refuse trucks – more we can do this, the more it brings it nearer the market. Visible early actions are vital to the success of the proposals
  • Dierdre Michie commented that the use of the oil and gas sector’s skills and experience is essential
  • a lot of discussions points link to the North Sea Transition Deal – ensure we work on this together going forward
  • Sir Jim noted the necessity for joined up business plans, but also the need to ensure Government is joined up. There is often a disconnect between regulatory focus and priorities. It would help as we go forward to understand how this will be facilitated by a coherent government response
  • Keith Bell agrees with the need for attention to business models, useful to highlight by sector which areas need subsidy. Business models stimulate demand, and important to have an understanding of downstream and upstream issues
  • clarity on anchor demand for hydrogen over timescales, and what it is likely to cost to get these levels of demand
  • need for cost reduction, which can come through R and D but also “learning by doing”
  • work ENSLG are commissioning on scenarios across multiple vectors will help to set the scene
  • Matt Sykes made the comment that a strong carbon pricing approach would be a helpful enabler for low carbon hydrogen
  • Sir Jim noted that Lord Nick Stern is working with the Treasury on a commitment for carbon pricing which has come about over the past 3 months. Unless macroeconomic conditions work these business models will be compromised
  • Charles Hammond agreed a holistic is approach needed. Grangemouth needs to be included in considerations around the Hydrogen Action Plan
  • John Morea highlighted SGN are working on a number of plans and studies at the moment including
  • a study looking at how to decarbonise the Grangemouth industrial cluster
  • working with NECCUS and Aberdeen Vision on how to get Hydrogen into Aberdeen through blending and 100% hydrogen
  • as there are a number of businesses doing different studies, some central coordination would be useful
  • demand is crucial, with hydrogen we should be specific with targets to give context which people will understand
  • storage needs to considered as it will be fundamental
  • Keith Maclean came back on the carbon pricing issue raised by Matt Sykes. Whilst it makes sense in some sectors, with the decarbonisation of heat it is very difficult to think about
  • fuel poverty problems exist with low price natural gas which has no carbon penalty attached. Difficult to conceive a situation where wholesale pricing would be increased by sticking taxing
  • unlike transport where there’s a benefit moving to hydrogen, for heat there are real social issues around this - heating needs to thought of differently
  • the Minister reassured members that Grangemouth is in the Government’s thinking, the wider cluster around the Forth is a real opportunity for CCUS and hydrogen
  • UK Government is looking at closing the spark gap between Gas and electricity – however there is a trade-off when thinking about fuel poverty
  • Scotland has potential to be competitive with the generation of blue and green hydrogen, but requires the economy to scale
  • we have intergovernmental steering group between the four nations which has previously been chaired by Kwasi Kwarteng MP offers an opportunity to coordinate around carbon pricing – key place to discuss ETS going forward
  • place based approach – another angle in Orkney potential for hydrogen playing in local energy issues to overcome grid issues. Keen as a legacy issue to see at heart of hydrogen strategy to see the islands as net exporters of hydrogen
  • Dave Pearson excited about the export potential, there needs to be an emphasis on this
  • efficiency – if we take 1 kWh heat from hydrogen it is 18% as effective as using the electricity for a heat pump. So it should be noted that where a kWh of electricity is used to produce hydrogen via electrolysis and then subsequently combusted to heat in a boiler that approximately six times as much electricity will be needed as when the electricity is used in a heat pump. Need to follow Norway’s advice of exporting rather than simply burning it for heat
  • the Minister highlighted the strong steer which has been received from Investment Innovation Hub team in Berlin that Germany are exploring various export opportunities at the moment
  • Scotland is up against other countries so this drive for demand needs to move forward with haste

Action

Sir Jim noted the opportunities with international partnerships. Sir Jim asked Scottish Government representatives to create an information pack which captures the essence of Scotland’s hydrogen strategy which can be used by members to weave into discussions with partners and stakeholders.

  • Collette Cohen highlighted that OGTC created a “closing the gap” report which was looking at the technology gaps to enable a hydrocarbon basin like the North Sea to move towards net zero. They reached out to international stakeholders to say this type of work can be done for all hydrocarbon basins particularly mature basins - which got good levels of engagement
  • as part of COP26 looking to put together a research consortium to look at this, including repurposing existing infrastructure. COP26 is a good catalyst for these conversations
  • Kersti Berge noted it is clear there will be follow up sessions from this meeting particularly around COP26 and mapping of activities
  • keen to follow up on these points
  • Mike Smith built on points raised about international partnerships. If we can develop tanking solutions for exporting hydrogen, and importing liquefied CO2. This would differentiate us from other competing nations
  • Scotland is the only place which could export significant amounts of hydrogen and use the same vessels to import and store CO2
  • this work hasn’t been done and is a great research opportunity. The work would lead into port development – ideal locations for hydrogen and CO2 storage

Action

Sir Jim noted he would follow up with Mike Smith following meeting on the future of maritime industry.

  • Margo Maciver emphasised the thinking around the appropriateness of place and use for hydrogen. Lots of emerging projects in the islands on connectivity with export market and closeness to wind projects
  • communities taking ownership for their own use of hydrogen for heat and transport
  • Charlotte Wright endorsed the points made by Margo on the islands leading the way – wide range of projects coming together. Happy to discuss further with Margo
  • Jane Morrison Ross extended the invite to talk to Margo about south of Scotland projects
  • Dave Pearson highlighted thinking from a whole systems approach that waste heat from liquefaction of hydrogen could be used for heating Aberdeen
  • asked whether ammonia or ethanol would be used for transporting hydrogen
  • Stuart McKay stated the Scottish Government are in contract to take forward a study to look at most cost effective way to transport hydrogen long distance by ship
  • ammonia and LOHC are both good options. It is unlikely that liquefied hydrogen would be transported in it’s pure form as it would be too expensive
  • phase 1 of this work will be completed summer 2021
  • Brian McFarlane noted that it is important to weave in locations of offshore wind when considering hydrogen generation. Marine spatial planning and environmental aspect also needs to be considered
  • Keith MacLean commented that island communities demonstrate system opportunities and capabilities across power, heat, and transport. Island communities have already adopted hydrogen
  • utilising their experiences to get support across wider mainland will be important. Some are worried about safety however seeing how well it has been adopted by the islands will be beneficial in overcoming these barriers
  • the Minister thanked everyone for the fascinating discussion and commented that the in next parliamentary term hydrogen will be a focus for the future of the industry
  • Mike Smith’s idea on hydrogen exports and CO2 imports through shipping sounds like a good idea
  • using island communities to demonstrate the benefits of hydrogen will also be beneficial
  • Sir Jim rounded up the hydrogen session by noting that Fraunhofer UK is based in Glasgow and there would be a strong connection there for any German support

Strategic leadership sub-groups update

Sir Jim passed to the co-chairs of the Strategic Leadership Groups to provide a brief update on progress.

The Energy Consumer Commission (ECC)

  • Lewis Shand Smith noted the reports relating to projects this year are nearing completion

  • consultation on the ECC project plan for next year closes on Friday, this is on the SG website

  • key themes for the coming year are:
    • energy debt
    • best practise for consumers
    • improving outcomes for vulnerable consumers
    • engagement with decarbonisation
  • the energy levy which is shared between Citizen’s Advice and ECC will be adopted fully by the ECC in the coming year
  • funding CAS the next year to provide a support role overseen by ECC
  • ECC looking at ways to be involved with COP26 from a consumer citizen perspective

Renewable Energy SLG

  • Claire Mack provided an update on their last meeting which took place on the 28th January 2021 where they took a deep dive into the decarbonisation of buildings
  • this was before the Heat in Buildings Strategy was published so discussions centred on how stakeholders would work with Scottish Government colleagues
  • skills are a standing agenda item, want to work with skills agencies to ensure the most is made of opportunities
  • COP a key theme, looking within the SLG at future strategic topics which come down to actions identified by the taskforce

Oil and Gas and Energy Transition SLG

  • Melfort Campbell noted the focus of the SLG has been on the North Sea Transition Deal, which bears relevance through all strands of their work
  • ongoing work on collaboration across all SLGs
  • last meeting in Feb not set next meeting due to upcoming election

Energy Networks SLG

  • Keith Bell summarised that the group has set a number of principles which underpin plans for companies to reflect Scottish Government policies around network funding
  • hoped the principles would be published within the next week
  • scenarios work – anticipate tenders in next month with 6 months of work ahead
  • consenting and planning – from the most recent network options assessment that there are big network develops being planned. The group are looking into how they can provide some strategic oversight for these plans

Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council

  • Brian Macfarlane made points on supporting supply chain
  • investment assessment is ongoing, the key is getting outputs form consultations and formulating recommendations on investments
  • need to improve transparency of contracting
  • transmission charging studies being undertaken

AOB

Action

Sir Jim thanked everyone for a terrific meeting, and confirmed the secretariat would be in touch soon about the date of the next meeting in Summer 2021.

  • the Minister thanked Sir Jim for chairing the meeting and praised members for the high quality contributions
  • marine energy industry working group, not direct voice but through RESLG seeing coordinated action on a route to market for tidal and wave. Kwasi Kwarteng MP asked for route to market layout
  • export of technology to Canada and japan – high cost of technology but progress is being made
  • wave energy Scotland has two developers producing projects. Technology is becoming mature enough to not be fully reliant on public funding which is good to see
  • Scotwind – assurance that we are driving for decision on the Scotwind framework for revenue before the pre-election period