EMEC response to draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan
EMEC has responded to the Scottish Government’s draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan.
We welcome the Scottish Government’s ambition to prepare Scotland for a just energy transition. The draft plan outlines the route map of actions the Scottish Government will take to deliver a vision to 2045 which envisages a flourishing net zero energy system supplying affordable, resilient and clean energy to Scotland’s workers, households, communities and businesses.
Reaching this vision will be contingent upon successfully driving technology development along its learning curves. Below is a summary of our response to the government’s consultation on the draft strategy, followed by EMEC’s full response available to download.
Within the route map, the government highlights the roles for different energy sectors including marine energy. EMEC strongly supports the Scottish Government setting an ambition for marine energy and feels this ambition should be matched with a clear pathway for delivery supported by an enabling policy and regulatory environment.
For Scotland to realise the benefits of the marine energy industry, it is imperative that more technology goes into Scottish waters. EMEC is seeking to expand its test and demonstration facilities to enable the next steps in scaling up the sector towards pre-commercial arrays.
Similarly, for Scotland to harness the potential of nascent sectors like floating offshore wind, the country would benefit from a floating offshore wind test centre modelled upon EMEC. To fulfil ambitions around deployment of floating offshore wind turbines in Scottish waters, it will be critical to ensure that the technology has been designed for the conditions it will face and has been sufficiently tested and proven for both performance and survivability.
As the only accredited test centre for wave and tidal renewable energy in the world, EMEC has an established and fundamental role in verifying performance to encourage investment. By setting up a demonstration site, EMEC can help deliver floating offshore wind earlier than will otherwise be the case.
The Scottish Government has strong ambitions for the country to have a leading role in hydrogen production and to grow a hydrogen economy. From experience of leading the way in hydrogen production in Orkney, we have found that there are significant advantages in looking to use hydrogen in the production of synthetic fuels that are free of fossil carbon and would strongly suggest that this area requires increased attention and support.
Community benefits and shared ownership
The draft plan also sets out ambitions for community benefits and shared ownership opportunities on renewable energy projects. Whilst it is positive to see development of good practice principles for community benefit from offshore renewable energy developments, this should not substitute place-based assessments and engagement and we urge that attention be paid to the risks of biases against community-based initiatives.
Innovation and demonstration projects will be crucial in developing an industry to support the Scottish Government’s ambitions and vision of a flourishing net zero energy system. Innovation funding is therefore required at both the Scottish and UK levels, and we encourage the Scottish Government to consider how best to provide its own support while encouraging the UK Government to do the same.
‘Learning by doing’ is going to be a vital step in seeking to make the revolutionary progress the nation needs to make to decarbonise. EMEC’s world-leading facilities can play a fundamentally important role in that journey.