The Royal Society of Scotland has responded to the UK Parliament Scottish Affairs Committee’s inquiry into renewable energy in Scotland. This response builds off of the positions in RSE’s 2019 inquiry into Scotland’s Energy Future and previous responses to Scottish Government’s Offshore Wind Policy Statement and the Just Transition Commission’s Interim Report.
Scotland has achieved many milestones in renewable energy, particularly in wind energy generation. And indeed, renewable energy will continue to play a central role in meeting Scotland’s target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. In order to do this, Scotland will need to continue diversifying its energy mix and storage solutions, as well as exploring the full potential of negative emission technologies such as carbon capture and storage.
Whatever the technology, it must go hand in hand with supporting a just transition. There are many oil and gas workers looking to enter the renewables sector and Scotland will need to improve its industrial base and build local supply chains in order to provide new economic opportunities for them and for Scotland as a whole.
It is also important to remember that targets on their own, however ambitious, are not enough to get Scotland to where it needs to be. Achieving our net-zero and just transition goals will require a cooperative approach between UK and Scottish Governments, a clear plan of delivery, as well as adequately resourced local authorities that can fulfil these ambitions on the ground.