Scottish Energy Advisory Board - Special Meeting to discuss Energy Strategy Just Transition Plan: 11 March 2024

Minutes from the special meeting of the Scottish Energy Advisory Board on 11 March 2024.

Attendees and apologies


  • Prof. Sir Jim McDonald, Principal Professor and Vice Chancellor, University of Strathclyde (co-chair)  

Members in attendance

  • Prof. Keith Bell, co-chair of the Energy Networks Strategic Leadership Group
  • Melfort Campbell, co-chair of the Oil and Gas and Energy Transition Strategic Leadership Group
  • Claire Mack, Scottish Renewables and co-chair of the Renewable Energy Strategic Leadership Group
  • Lewis Shand-Smith chair of the Energy Consumers Strategic Leadership Group
  • Brian McFarlane , co-chair of the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council
  • Keith Anderson CEO, Scottish Power
  • Mark Wild CEO, SGN
  • Adrian Gillespie, CEO, Scottish Enterprise
  • Paul Wheelhouse , Head of Energy Transition, South of Scotland Enterprise
  • David Whitehouse, CEO, OEUK
  • Andrew Jamieson, Chief Executive, ORE Catapult
  • Keith MacLean Director, Providence Policy
  • Dave Pearson, CEO, Star Refrigeration
  • Stuart Black, CEO, Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Frank Mitchell, Chair, Skills Development Scotland
  • Sam Ghibaldan, CEO, Consumer Scotland
  • Jake Rigg, Corporate Affairs Director, ESO

Scottish Government attendees

  • Kersti Berge, Director of Energy and Climate Change
  • Ragne Low, Deputy Director for Onshore Electricity Policy, Strategic Coordination and Energy Consents
  • Catriona Laing, Deputy Director for Climate Change 
  • Lisa McDonald, Deputy Director, Offshore Wind Programme, Investment and Skills
  • Mike Palmer, Deputy Director for Marine Planning and Policy 
  • Head of Energy Strategy and Markets
  • Head of Net Zero Economy and Carbon Markets
  • Head of Energy Consents Unit 
  • Energy Strategy Team Leader 
  • Just Transition Team Leader 
  • SEAB Secretariat


  • Fintan Slye, Director, National Grid ESO 
  • Jim McColl, Founder and CEO, Clyde Blowers
  • Charles Hammond, CEO, Forth Ports

Items and actions

Welcome and Introductions

Sir Jim welcomed members and thanked them for their attendance at the special SEAB session to discuss the Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan. 
It was noted that the First Minister and Cabinet Secretary would not be joining today and that formal business and the approval of the previous minutes of the meeting in December 2023 will take place at the next regular meeting of SEAB on 24 April. 

Sir Jim highlighted that members have the opportunity to help input views through this workshop session and that written input is also welcome by Monday 18 March. 

Kersti Berge then welcomed everyone and outlined the importance of getting feedback on a range of cross-cutting issues. She presented an overview of the key messages from the ESJTP, which includes a commitment to longer-term work with key stakeholders to develop a critical path, and on delivery of the strategy. 
Melanie MacRae then provided an overview of the selected policy areas for discussion at the meeting with key topics for discussion. 

Policy Discussion 

Detailed discussion followed on the selected policy areas: 

Jobs and skills

Members highlighted the sense of urgency around this issue and the need to take action now to address it, particularly as skills is an ahead-of-time investment.  The importance of whole systems thinking was highlighted and the need to take into account wider work across the UK, including on the Green Jobs Plan. 

It was recognised that there are numerous initiatives underway and a cluttered landscape exists, but that Government cannot solve all of the issues. It was agreed that there would be benefit in members taking a co-ordinated approach. 

It was agreed that following the meeting a group of SEAB members should convene to discuss the approach to a just transition for jobs and skills. This meeting should take place before the next SEAB meeting on 24 April to allow the group to provide input into the discussion on 24 April, including analysis and evidence that will help inform the jobs and skills narrative.   

Consenting (onshore and offshore)

Members provided feedback on both onshore and offshore consenting processes and recent improvement measures. It was agreed that there has been a lot of progress in this area and that the Onshore Wind Sector Deal and NPF4 have taken things forward. 

Resourcing of planning departments was highlighted as a risk for developers and the current consultation on resourcing was referred to. The need for public engagement was also considered a key issue that needs to be set out. In addition, it was suggested that richer sources of data for consenting may help with public engagement and shortening timescales.  

It was recognised that SG cannot set a consenting ‘target’ and that the focus needs to be on derogations, which requires constructive engagement with industry. 

Integrated energy supply chain 

A summary was provided of a package of supply chain interventions, which have been developed in partnership with the Enterprise Agencies. The opportunity to build on Scotland’s supply chain strengths was highlighted by members and the need to fully understand our competitiveness in an international market. This includes ensuring that enterprise more broadly is considered. It was also suggested that there should be clarity on the split between what we manage and what we enable – this links to the role of enabling infrastructure and ensuring confidence in the market. 

Following an offer from Melfort Campbell to share Rystad analysis, Sir Jim asked him to please send it to the SEAB Secretariat. 

Use of clean electricity 

A number of choices were summarised around how increasing levels of renewable electricity could support wider economic and industrial opportunities. 

Members recognised the challenges around obtaining grid connections, referring to IDRIC’s work in this area and highlighted the importance of dispersed sites, as well as clusters. There was also a suggestion that small scale hydrogen projects will play an important role in driving further hydrogen development. 

It was agreed that there is a need to be clear on what Scotland is trying to achieve and what the outcome is that we’re looking for from these choices. 

Sir Jim concluded by highlighting that David Joffey is involved in work looking at a decarbonised GB electricity system, which will report over the next 3-4 months. He urged colleagues to please keep an eye on this and Ragne Low confirmed that she is aware of this work and will be meeting David to discuss it.


Following an overview of the proposed approach to delivery, it was agreed that there are two main themes emerging: the need for a clear plan on delivery (who does what and when) and the need to ensure that delivery creates economic opportunities. 

It was agreed that the next SEAB meeting should consider ESJTP delivery.  

Any other business and close

Sir Jim thanked everyone for the valuable and constructive discussion and reminded them to provide written feedback by 18 March. The next regular SEAB meeting will take place on 24 April. 

Summary of Actions 

•    Members to provide written feedback to the SEAB Secretariat by 18 March. 
•    Convene skills group to meet in advance of next SEAB meeting on 24 April and provide input to that meeting. 
•    Delivery to be a focus of SEAB meeting on 24 April. 
•    SG to share further ESJTP content with members ahead of publication. 

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