The Scottish Chambers of Commerce have set out its plans for a Scottish energy strategy for the next 50 years.
Scotland’s energy industry is the beating heart of the Scottish economy – from our oil and gas sector to our electricity generation and transmission infrastructure to the potential of a variety of renewable energy sources, the industry is crucial to leading and sustaining our future successes.
Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “Energy is what enables every part of our economy to flourish and the various components of the sector are huge economic contributors in their own right.
“From a strategic point of view, it is vital that Scotland, and indeed the United Kingdom, develops a coherent energy plan for the future over a 50-year period.
“That level of forward planning is essential if businesses are to have the confidence to make investment decisions and would put an end to recent uncertainty in the sector due to fundamental changes in policy, such as the UK Government’s decision to shift the goalposts on renewable energy policy following the 2015 General Election.
“Scotland already has a significant installed capacity of wind energy infrastructure but the future of this industry will be dictated by the development of new technologies to store excess electricity production for use at times of peak demand.
“Scotland has the potential to become a world leader in this area, with the right investment, helping to increase the efficiency and lower the costs of renewable energy as well as rooting skills and talent in Scotland. This market is worth an estimated £1.5 billion, with the opportunity to create 5,500 new jobs in 30 locations across Scotland.
“The next Scottish Government will have a role to play in this agenda with its responsibilities for renewable energy, planning policy and a range of business taxes. It can help to create a better environment for investment in energy solutions, including small scale energy generation and energy saving methods in commercial properties.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Scottish First Minister John Swinney set out the SNP’s plans to place community energy at the heart of his party’s ambition for Scotland if re-elected to government next week.
On a campaign visit to Wick harbour, he learned about the Harbour Trust’s diversification plans to better support development of offshore renewables in northern Scotland.
Swinney commented: “Last year Scotland powered through our ambitious targets on energy, achieving 57.7% of electricity from renewables in 2015. The SNP is upping that ambition to 100% of our electricity from renewables by 2020.
“Communities across Scotland should form the foundation of our renewables revolution – that’s why we’ve committed to producing one gigawatt of our power from community and locally owned sources by 2020, and doubling that amount by 2030.”