The British Carbon Trust provided the following submission on renewable energy policies and de-carbonising the heating and transport industries to Holyrood MPs on the Scottish parliament’s Environment Committee.
The session was led by the trust’s Andrew Lever, Director of Innovation and Paul Wedgwood, Head of Programmes in Scotland following the recent ratification of the United Nation’s Paris climate-change agreement, which the UK has now signed up to.
Special focus was given to Scotland’s innovation potential and the opportunity to move towards a more integrated energy system. As Scotland’s energy system transitions to a renewable and distributed one, more flexible solutions, such as storage, are required.
Wedgwood said: “To unlock benefits at every level of a system often requires overcoming a series of barriers, from political and educational to technological and financial. The benefits of making this happen need to be made clear.
“A move towards an integrated smart energy system now would put Scotland in a leadership position internationally. Such a vision would see Scotland generating significantly more power from renewable resources and see power, heat and transport sectors more deeply connected.”
Other themes included ‘behavioural change’ and how to capitalise on Scotland’s unique characteristics. The country has significant renewable resources (a quarter of European offshore renewables potential) and 45% of UK woodland resource. Concentrated population density (80% of people live in urban areas) present opportunities for effective and reliable low carbon transport solutions.
The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the transition to a low carbon Scottish economy, necessary to meet the current targets set out in the Climate Change Act, to reduce emissions by 42% by 2020, and by 80% by 2050, and to seize business opportunities and a better quality of life.
Meanwhile, Scotland continues to suffer from high levels of fuel poverty, with 35% of people falling within this category compared to 10% in England.