A new energy policy report issued by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE, Scotland) says that Scotland is well placed to play a crucial role in the delivery of secure, affordable, low carbon energy – thanks to a range of factors including (but not limited to) its abundance of natural resource and the support offered by successive UK and Scottish Governments.
But it also identifies a series of challenges that will need to be overcome if Scotland is to realise its full energy potential and meet is ambitious targets to deliver secure, affordable and decarbonised energy by 2050.
A spokesman for ICE Scotland – which has some 8,000 members – said: “Now that the outcome of the referendum is known and Scotland is to remain part of the UK, the Institution of Civil Engineers looks forward to engaging constructively with the Scottish and UK governments to reinforce the value of investment in our infrastructure and the people and skills required for its delivery and maintenance.
“During the period of change following the referendum, ICE will continue to engage with all governments and parties.”
The ICE energy report recommends actions to:
Maintain security of supply
Around three-quarters of Scotland’s existing thermal generation (primarily from coal and nuclear) is expected to be retired within the decade. With the Scottish Government’s policy against the development of new nuclear, replacement thermal capacity and the development of carbon capture and storage to mitigate against climate change, will be essential to maintain Scottish security of supply alongside the further development of renewables
Ensure policy stability
Policy stability is essential in order for investors to commit to long-term investment decisions. The secondary legislation needed to ensure the implementation of Electricity Market Reform (EMR) should be enacted during the lifetime of this parliament in order to entrench these reforms into law and attract investment. This can help the Scottish Government in its ambitions to deliver the equivalent of 100% of electricity demand from renewables by 2020
Support the development of renewables to 2020 and beyond
Scotland has huge potential for the continued development of renewables. In the short term, the pace of deployment needed to meet our 2020 targets is likely to be required to be accelerated. In the longer-term, continued policy support for the further development of renewables will be required to develop and commercialise emerging technologies (such as wave and tidal) and to consider the opportunities available to connect remote sources to the grid.
Promote demand-reduction and limit the impact of energy reform on consumer bills
Changing the energy that we use for heat, transport and electricity will be insufficient in itself if we are to meet our long-term decarbonisation goals. Demand-side measures to help change the way we consume and increase our energy efficiency will have just as an important role to play in reducing emissions and tackling affordability issues.
Accelerate the decarbonisation of heat and transport
Heat and transport account for four-fifths of our total energy use. Significant moves are required to accelerate both of these sectors and achieving this should be a long-term priority for government.
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