A Trading Nation – framework to grow Scotland's renewables exports

This framework reaffirms the commitments made from ‘A Trading Nation’ to ensure our trade and investment agenda is front and centre of our economic growth strategy. Outlines how we can work in partnership with industry to identify opportunities to grow exports around the world.

3. Actions and next steps

This framework provides a structure through which we can identify and deliver the actions required to grow Scotland's renewables exports. The sector and its opportunities for export growth are evolving rapidly, and as such the actions required to deliver growth must be agile and regularly reviewed.

Within the next 12 months we will finalise a full Renewables Exports Action Plan. The Plan will identify short-, medium- and long-term ambitions, setting out the identification of critical renewables export priorities for Scotland against the delivery of critical dependencies. This will establish how we can grow the number of Scottish renewables companies and develop their international competitive advantages, including through development of domestic supply chains.

The previous two sections have identified Scotland's current strengths in renewables and the opportunities to grow Scotland's renewables exports. This section sets out the actions the Scottish Government, agencies and industry will take to do this, as well as the progress we have made.

3.1 Improving our understanding of renewables export growth opportunities

As defined within ATN, energy was one of the top five export sectors for Scotland in 2019. However, as identified in Section 1, the nature of the energy sector is rapidly evolving, as too are the means through which Scotland will create energy exports in the future.

To ensure this export plan takes an evidence-based approach, we have identified a number of actions that will allow us to develop a baseline against which Scottish renewables exports can be established and tracked in future.

Actions we will take:

  • Data Improvement – Pilot a data gathering exercise that will commence early 2023; this activity will help provide direction on future international markets and inform enterprise agencies operating plans.
  • ONS LCREE Data – Explore the ONS LCREE data as a potential source for tracking progress of Scotland's renewable exports.
  • ATN Definition Of Energy Exports – Revisit our definition of Energy Exports within ATN, to ensure it meets Scotland's transition to renewable forms of energy and the scope for export growth in key commodities such as hydrogen. This work will also inform the development of the Hydrogen Sector Export Plan in 2023.

Progress to date:

  • Energy Transition Data – The Scottish Government commissioned a study to develop a methodology that will measure Scotland's net zero and climate adaptation economy. This will help identify where there are trade and investment opportunities across Scotland's net zero and climate adaptation supply chains, including renewables.

3.2 Opportunities to support renewable exporters

To ensure that Scotland is strongly positioned to capitalise on the economic opportunity presented by renewables, we will continue to support companies to take advantage of opportunities in other countries that require tailored market knowledge and insight.

Actions we will take:

  • Supply Chain Mapping – We will produce a comprehensive data set of company information and capabilities across the Energy supply chain. This will allow us to better understand our strengthens, both as a sector- and company-level mapping supply chain.
  • Identify Renewables Exporters – The Enterprise agencies through SDI will continue to work with partners, through the Business Support Partnership, key stakeholders, and industry bodies, to identify future renewables exporters, assessing their capability, and exploring opportunities with them.
  • Target Markets – Enterprise agencies and partners will work together to support companies to access expertise to help them navigate new emerging markets.

Progress to date:

  • Scotland's Industry Directories – Published in 2019, the directories map the businesses operating across Scotland's renewables sector. The enterprise agencies are undertaking significant work to update this directory making it much more comprehensive.
  • Renewable Export SupportSDI supports a wide portfolio of renewable companies to increase their export potential across the segmented model of export support within ATN. Currently there are particularly strong representation of the sector in both the Solid Performer and Sleeping Giant segments.
  • Scottish Development International – Provides a wide range of support for new and existing exporters that is signposted on the Scottish Enterprise Exports and International Markets site. This includes:
    • Access to international market research and guides on specific market and sector opportunities.
    • Support to start exporting through the 'Preparing to Export' programme.
    • Businesses can also get expert advice through the GlobalScot network.

3.3 Internationalisation of Scotland's sub-sectors and supply chains

We will build on the domestic development of Scotland's renewable sub-sectors and supply chains, to embed an internationalisation and exporting mind-set within them.

Actions we will take:

  • GlobalScots – We will engage with our network of renewable energy GlobalScots on a sub-sectoral basis to develop focused groups to support the delivery of this framework.
  • Climate Emergency Skills Actions Plan – Published in December 2020, the Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan sets out clear direction for the changes needed in the skills system, allowing Scottish firms and workforces to capture a share of growing international markets and maximising the transition to net zero for Scotland.

Progress to date:

  • The ScotWind Programme – Scotland is at the forefront of the global development of offshore wind, helping deliver supply chain benefits and high-quality jobs that will make the climate transition a fair one.

3.4 Identify critical international markets for renewable exports

SDI already has a robust approach to supporting our exporters, and will continue to promote Scottish interests overseas and strengthen Scotland's international relationships.

Actions we will take:

  • International Markets – We will continue to assess SDI's global footprint of in-market specialists to ensure they support the transitional nature of Scotland's energy exports.
  • International Promotion – In line with Scottish Government's Vision for Trade, SDI will continue to promote and build relationships by showcasing Scottish companies transitioning to renewable energy, and the innovative companies in this space, by establishing Scotland's international trade and investment presence at key industry events.

Progress to date:

  • International networks – To support and grow companies' ambition to establish future exporting capability, we are using our extensive international network, including SDI's network of in market specialists, GlobalScots and trade envoys, to gather crucial market intelligence.
  • Sub-sectorsSDI is enhancing its understanding of the sub-sector opportunities in Onshore Wind, Offshore Wind, Heat and Marine – with a view to developing trade propositions on each.

This plan provides a strong foundation on which we can build Scotland's renewables export capacity. Working together across government, industry, and agencies we will also work with key partners to explore whether a distinct Renewables Sector Export Plan delivery group would provide additional value in this context. From there a detailed action plan covering key opportunities will continue to be developed to support this plan, bringing direction, focus and commitment, to each of the actions identified and those we will identify as our industry develops.


Email: victoria.roberts@gov.scot

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