Publication - Consultation paper

Local energy policy statement: consultation

Published: 9 Oct 2019

Scotland's Energy Strategy, published in December 2017, included the development of 'innovative local energy systems' as one of six strategic priorities. To support that aim, a commitment was made to develop a Local Energy Position Paper, which would set out a series of key principles and associated outcomes for project delivery agents to consider during the development of future renewable energy projects.

Local energy policy statement: consultation
Context

Context

Scotland's Energy Strategy[1], published in December 2017, included the development of innovative local energy systems as one of six strategic priorities.

To support that aim, a commitment was made to develop a local energy systems position paper (i.e. the Local Energy Policy Statement), which set out a series of key principles and associated outcomes for a broad range of stakeholders to consider during the development of future local energy system projects and sectoral activity.

It is important to emphasise that the term local energy is different from community energy. However, there will still be a role for community-led energy projects within the wider local energy systems landscape and this is covered in the statement.

Community energy is the delivery of community-led renewable energy projects, whether wholly owned and/ or controlled by communities, or through partnerships with commercial or public sector partners.

Local energy is more wide ranging, involving a range of different organisations (both public and private sector), who are delivering an energy service for the benefit of local consumers operating within a defined geographically area.

Innovative Local Energy Systems

One of the six strategic energy priorities outlined in Scotland's Energy Strategy:

To empower our communities by supporting the development of innovative and integrated local energy systems and networks.

Scotland's energy system is changing, as evidenced in the shift over the past two decades from power generated from large fossil fuel plants to substantial increases in renewable generation - particularly onshore and offshore wind. In effect, the energy system has developed from one that was largely centralised to one that is becoming increasingly decentralised, with more diverse ownership and delivery models.

This is a fast moving environment both in terms of technology development and its supporting infrastructure and, as such, it is difficult to predict exactly how it will develop.

However, what is clear is that the way we generate, supply and use our energy will continue to change fundamentally in the coming years, and the way in which it will change will differ from place to place - based on local need and opportunity.

In this transitional environment, we must not lose sight that our overall approach to energy is driven by the need to decarbonise the whole energy system.

This is in line with the net-zero emissions target for 2045 proposed by the Scottish Government within the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill[2] and also set out within the Scottish Government's Programme for Scotland 2019-2020[3] in September 2019.

The Scottish Government recognises that local energy cannot be delivered in isolation: it will develop alongside (and within) a vibrant national energy network. Both are critical to ensuring that Scotland can transition to a net zero future by 2045 in a way that delivers secure, affordable, clean energy for Scotland.

In summary, the local energy systems landscape is complex, involving a range of different links, relationships and interdependencies.

That is why the Scottish Government considers the time is right to explore with stakeholders across Scotland what values and principles should be embedded in practice and behaviours.


Contact

Email: mark.stewart@gov.scot