Publication - Agreement

Scottish Energy Networks Strategic Leadership Group: terms of reference

Published: 8 Mar 2021

Terms of reference for the Scottish Energy Networks Strategic Leadership Group.

Published:
8 Mar 2021
Scottish Energy Networks Strategic Leadership Group: terms of reference

The mission statement for the group is as follows:

The Scottish Energy Networks Strategic Leadership Group will provide advice and recommendations on the key challenges and opportunities facing these networks, the options for addressing them, and the ways in which the networks can support the Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy and Climate Change priorities. In particular the group will support the Scottish Government in understanding how energy networks will:

  • help deliver the net zero by 2045 in Scotland and the interim climate change targets laid out in the 2019 Scottish Climate Change Bill
  • support the development of a strong green economy and
  • ensure that decarbonisation the energy system leads to a Just Transition

The purpose of the group is to: 

  • provide a knowledgeable and influential forum for discussing the ways in which the development of Scotland’s energy networks can recognise and deliver Scottish energy and climate change policy objectives
  • focus on specific issues and opportunities for Scotland, such as the role of electricity and gas networks in delivering Scottish energy and economic policies, addressing fuel poverty, raising consumer awareness and engagement, and issues around electricity security of supply
  • inform debate and engagement at UK level by considering how reserved powers can be made sufficiently flexible to support different ambitions and priorities at a devolved and local level

The group has the following objectives: 

  • discuss and agree advice for SEAB on the key proposals and issues concerning electricity and gas network planning, operation, investment and regulation, and the opportunities / barriers facing energy networks in enabling the delivery of net zero
  • coordinate and facilitate work to understand the interaction between Scottish Government policy on the energy networks and ensure that Scottish Government is aware of the opportunities that energy networks can provide, and the barriers posed by energy network
  • increase and improve awareness of the challenge of delivering Scottish devolved energy policies and goals in a reserved environment – identifying ways in which devolved and reserved powers can best work together

The following list includes key topics that the group will cover during 2020 and 2021: 

  • security of energy supply in a low carbon energy system (considering Scotland’s changing generation mix and potential electrification of heat and transport)
  • opportunities for Scotland to lead on decarbonising the gas networks, and gathering evidence on the costs and technical feasibility of 100% hydrogen networks
  • understanding the impacts on Scottish consumers of changes to the networks, including changes to the right of access to the electricity network and the networks’ role in delivering affordable, reliable and increasingly low carbon energy. The group should feed into the work of the Scottish Just Transition Commission   
  • whole system development and planning of gas and electricity networks – e.g. how to deal with the social and economic costs of decarbonising heat and transport, as well as the interaction of gas and electricity with other energy infrastructure
  • innovation needs and challenges across both network groups
  • how to maximise economic and supply chain benefits/value from the current and future development of Scotland’s energy networks

The group will interact with the other Senior Leadership Groups (Oil and Gas and Energy Transition, Consumers and renewable energy) to ensure that the advice that SEAB is getting is consistent and coordinated. 

Membership

The Energy Networks SLG will be chaired by the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands and will consist of senior representative from each of the gas and electricity network companies operating in Scotland, Ofgem, a consumer representative, and an independent academic. 

The group will appoint a co-chair. 

The group will be joined by relevant Scottish Government officials.

Membership will be reviewed in January 2022. 

The current membership is as follows: 

  • Scottish Government - Paul Wheelhouse (Chair), Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, 
  • Independent - Prof. Keith Bell (Co Chair), University of Strathclyde
  • Independent - Tricia McAuley, Independent consumer expert
  • SPEN - Scott Mathieson
  • SSEN - Rob McDonald
  • NGESO - Julian Lesley
  • SGN - Angus McIntosh
  • NG Gas - Phil Sheppard
  • Ofgem - Steve McMahon