EXCLUSIVE: MSPs warned that Scottish Energy Strategy needs more focus on sustainable community energy

Nick Gubbins
Nick Gubbins

EXCLUSIVE by Scottish Energy News

Community Energy Scotland – Scotland’s independent community energy support charity which aims to democratise the energy system – has welcomed the government’s draft new Scottish Energy Strategy.

But Nicholas Gubbins, Chief Executive of CES, also warned Holyrood MPs not to retreat from ‘ambitions for true community ownership of renewable energy developments’ and said that other terms such as “locally-owned” blur the definition of ‘community energy’.

He said: “Our mission is to build confidence, resilience and wealth at community level through sustainable energy development. We do this by representing community energy issues in policy development and by supporting communities to develop and deliver their own energy projects

“We welcome the approach and ambition laid out in the draft <Scottish energy> strategy, in particular its integrated approach** and the ambition in its targets, especially:

  • The proposed ‘all-energy’ renewable target to deliver the equivalent of Scotland’s heat, transport and electricity consumption from renewable sources;
  • The idea of a new 2030 energy efficiency target aligned with the EU ambition of a 30% energy efficiency improvement, and
  • The importance the strategy attaches to local and community energy solutions and the development of local energy economies.
  • The draft <Scottish energy> strategy**  represents the first coherent attempt in the UK to set out a ‘whole system’ integrated approach to energy policy, bringing together key aspects of supply and demand in the context of the low carbon imperative, rapid technical innovation and the significant changes that are underway in the generation, supply and use of energy.”

But Gubbins also warned: “Although the draft <Scottish energy strategy> refers to the importance of sharing benefits across communities, innovative work on local energy systems and the significance of consumers’ response in determining the future energy mix, the strategy could have a stronger vision for the role communities could play in this transformative process and what they need to have in the way of support so that they can engage and effect change within the required timescales.

“Community energy offers a much greater level of direct local renewable energy supply for local electricity, heating and transport demand, substituting for continuing widespread fossil fuel use, overcoming electricity system constraint blockages on new development, while creating opportunities for new local investment and tariff arrangements which help to recycle value in the local economy.

“We believe that this policy ‘prize’ should be encompassed in the <Scottish energy> strategy vision.”

** See also: June 2016 Scotland’s Renewable Forum

Scots Energy Minister accepts call from Scotland’s Renewable Forum for ‘system-wide approach’ to de-carbonising heat and transport in new Scottish Energy Strategy


and Scotland’s Renewable Future’s draft new Scottish Energy Strategy


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