Scotland will miss 2020 emissions targets without power storage, Energy Academy experts warn MSPs

EA logoMembers of Heriot-Watt University’s Energy Academy were the guests of Joan McAlpine MSP in the Scottish Parliament where they discussed the future of energy storage in Scotland.

They were joined by Brian Richardson who is Chief Executive, Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce and Director of Energy Storage Scotland CIC.

Together, Richardson and Energy Academy Professor Sue Roaf and Dr .Eddie Owens told Holyrood MPs that Scotland could not deliver its 2020 targets without using energy storage.

Professor Roaf highlighted that Scotland has “an opportunity to join world leaders in the field – but we need to embrace building and community level solar, wind and small scale hydro potentials too”.

In her vision, a 100% renewable Scotland by 2030 was “not a problem!” with ”a strong vision and sensible investment.”

Dr. Owens described a scenario of resource depletion, rising prices and associated fuel poverty, intermittent renewable generation and ongoing concerns over climate change. Solutions such as electric cars may he said “significantly increase demand for electricity.”

He argued for “efficient and effective storage solutions” to be applied “if the benefits of renewable generation are to be realised.” “Without storage – nuclear and fossil fuel generation will remain the dominant generation technology.”

Drawing attention to work at Heriot-Watt, and his work on smart metering, Dr. Owens made a case where scale up of this type of technology to regional or national level might increase the uptake of energy generated from renewable resources and reduce carbon emissions. Why not, he suggested, “have a “renewables forecast” at the end of every weather forecast” and “provide a free”App to millions.  ( )

To view the full Heriot Watt University Energy Academy presentation:

The Energy Academy at Heriot-Watt University is working in partnership with Scottish Energy News to celebrate achievement by individuals or companies that have been working on energy or energy-related research for less than 10-years in the ‘Scottish energy pioneers of the year’ competition. 

The awards will be presented – at a ceremony hosted by the Green Investment Bank at its head office in Edinburgh on Thursday 14th May – by the Scottish Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, MSP.


Professor Stephen Chapman, Principal, Heriot-Watt University, said:  “The Heriot-Watt University Energy Academy is a pan-university initiative supported by all Schools at our Edinburgh, Orkney and Borders campuses.

“It has two principal objectives: to consolidate energy research activities and facilitate interdisciplinary programmes, both within the university and with other higher education institutes, and to ensure external parties can easily gain an appreciation of our vision, skills-base and active research projects in energy.”

Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer – Robert M. Buchan Chair in Sustainable Energy Engineering, and Director of Heriot Watt University’s Energy Academy, said; “Regardless of the direction of travel in terms of energy policy, most people would agree that it must be clear and consistent so that researchers, investors and developers can make robust decisions that allow future generations to inherit a stable and sustainable energy infrastructure based on effective and affordable technology. 

“Through the Heriot-Watt University – Scottish Energy News Researcher of the Year Awards 2015, we look forward to bringing together academic research teams and companies that would benefit from new technologies.”

Mark R. Whittet, Executive Director, Scottish Energy News, said: “Having played a leading role in providing the energy sources for the first industrial revolution in the 19th century, Scotland is again prominently placed to play a leading role in the second industrial revolution in the 21st century.

“As a nation, we have the potential to maximise economic returns from fossil fuel exploration and recovery in the North Sea at the same time as pioneering leading technological innovation in exploiting Scotland’s large wind and wave power resources on a global scale – given the right ambition and encouragement.

“Heriot Watt university – and its Energy Academy experts – are already making a highly positive contribution to this 21st century industrial revolution and we hope that the Heriot-Watt University/ Scottish Energy News Researcher of the Year Awards 2015 will help to stimulate, accelerate, recognise and reward the brightest brains in the process of energy and engineering innovation for the national – and international – good.”

Students at the Heriot Watt University Energy Academy
Students at the Heriot Watt University Energy Academy

How to apply

Send us your CV and a good story about yourself and what you’ve done or what you are about to do – it’s as simple as that.  E-mail your application to:

Do you stand out from your peers? Are you:

An enthusiastic undergraduate

  • A post-graduate doing further research?
  • Already working in research and development (R&D)?

When you look back on what you’ve done or look forward to what you are going to do, how has this or how might this shape the direction of future research or R&D in the energy sector in Scotland?

If you can convince our panel of judges of the impact or potential impact of your work, or you know someone that you think is worthy of consideration, you/they could win an award of £500. But we need to hear from you!


Prizes will be awarded to one individual or company in each of the following categories:

  • Energy and the environment;
  • Energy in the marine environment;
  • Energy materials and storage;
  • Energy and fossil fuels;
  • Energy infrastructure and society; and
  • Energy entrepreneurship.



The competition is open to any company or individual undertaking pure or applied research and/or research and development at a Scottish university, HEI or company (irrespective of size).  There’s no age limit, but you need to have been working on energy or energy-related research for less than 10-years.


What  you should include:

As well as the above, we would like to see:

  • a letter of nomination (although applicants may self-nominate);
  • some evidence of the quality of your work or the impact it has had or you, or your peers think that it’s likely to have (we aren’t being prescriptive about this; it’s up to you how you choose to do this);
  • how you are committed to the future development of energy research and R&D in Scotland

Our panel will be looking  for:

Early-career researchers, an excellent academic record relative to your peers at the same stage of your career and evidence of how you are going to develop this; and/or

  • Evidence of an outstanding contribution to your chosen field of energy- or energy-related research.
  • Applicants for the energy entrepreneurship category, evidence of how your work has made or you think will make, a demonstrable contribution to society and the economy in Scotland.

Deadline for applications: Tuesday 17 March 2015.

The shortlist of finalists will be announced approximately one month before the Awards ceremony in May 2015.
For more information, contact:

Dr. Patrick McCarthy

Heriot-Watt University

Tel: 0131 451 3881




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