GreenPower Submission to Scottish Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan

The Scottish Government is consulting on a new Energy Strategy and ‘Just Transition’ Plan for Scotland.

Key points made by GreenPower in its response:

  • Good draft but put carbon capture in the same bucket as nuclear.  CCUS will likely slow the process of the transition, and is arguably directly against the interests of the renewables industry and a just transition.
  • A solar target of 6GW by 2030 is more than justified. Put solar into the mix with wind.
  • We have all the technology we need to deliver a 100% renewable system
  • Welcome commitment to rapidly grow Scotland’s hydrogen economy and support the setting of a target for green hydrogen production.
  • The commitment to “Significantly scale up renewable energy production, including on- and offshore wind power, renewable hydrogen, marine energy, solar and hydro.” is very welcome.
  • Leadership and commitment to deployment levels across different technologies directs all other policy levers to be focussed on achieving deployment at the scale and pace required. This is particularly important in three significant areas: grid, supply chain and planning.
  • Renewables plus storage is the solution, and they exist, in the here and now.
  • There are literally thousands of jobs in renewables waiting to be filled now, and over the next 5-10 years – a much faster and more deliberate transition from oil and gas could deliver a more rapid redeployment of skilled people from dirty energy to the clean energy sector.
  • That transition of jobs should be based on a “pull” from the renewables sector and not a “push” from oil and gas – provide support to the renewables sector to attract talent across from oil and gas and to support the training and skills development.
  • Strong support for the Scottish Government’s stated intention to continue to press the UK government and OFGEM to decouple electricity from gas prices in the energy market, and also to press for a better and fairer grid charging regime.
  • Renewable energy development is inherently better placed to offer benefits across the country, than traditionally concentrated forms of power production such coal and gas, or sourcing fuel in a global market (for example relying on uranium ore from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Australia and Canada in a global commodity market.)

Director of Development George Baxter said: “The Scottish Government’s plan is essentially a good one. Rapid change, deployment targets and a focus on delivery. Yet it risks being held back by putting eggs into the carbon capture basket. Everything that CCS can do, renewables can do better, cheaper and safer – and CCS in essence, is a direct competitor to renewables. I don’t buy the claim that CCS is needed, I think it is an excuse for minimising change and slowing it down – and that’s the last thing that an urgent renewables transition needs. The Scottish Government uses the same arguments against nuclear being eye-wateringly expensive, not a credible response to climate change and unsustainable, that it could equally apply to CCS.

“There is significant evidence that a 100% renewable energy system is possible, and cheaper, without nuclear and without oil and gas.  Many different forms of energy storage such as pumped hydro and compressed air, together with energy conversion to Hydrogen as well as large scale battery systems can all contribute to a stable system. Interconnection and demand management can also stabilise the network. A renewables dominated electricity network does not need the outdated perception that ‘baseload’ provided by nuclear and fossil gas is needed. Flexible response, storage and ‘top up’ is required. The distributed demand profile is also going to change dramatically with heat and transport increasingly being dependent on green electricity.

“There are thousands of jobs ready and waiting in the renewables industry and if anything, the case for a faster transition is being made in the recruitment market which is extremely buoyant at the moment. The renewables industry needs those exceptional and highly skilled oil and gas people to switch over much more quickly.”  

A copy of GreenPower’s submission can be read in full here.