The RSE’s major inquiry into Scotland’s Energy Future was published in June 2019.
The report highlighted that no energy policy, no matter how well-considered, is capable of solving all the issues of energy supply and use and that difficult and costly choices will have to be made. It warns that there are no easy options and all decisions will require compromise and trade-offs, each with significant consequences. However, the challenges present an opportunity for Scotland to explore and develop world-leading, innovative solutions.
Scotland’s Energy Future sets out the significant challenges faced by Scotland, and the rest of the world, as it looks to continue to produce the energy it requires, while attempting to meet its carbon reduction targets. Even under the most ambitious of plans to reduce demand and use energy more efficiently, Scotland will need energy for heat, transport and electricity and a decision must be made on how this will be sourced. The expected major increase in demand for electricity, coupled with Scotland’s electricity generating capacity decreasing due to the closures, and planned closures, of various power stations serves to make the issue more pressing.
The advantages and drawbacks of the options available to Scotland are explored and highlight that emerging low-carbon technologies, which are required to meet important carbon reduction targets, may be the preferred solutions but are likely to be significantly more expensive in the short-term than current methods.
The report’s recommendations include:
- The establishment of an independent, expert commission on energy;
- The need for timely and well-considered decisions by Scottish and UK governments on how and in what to invest;
- Prioritisation of climate protection targets;
- Investment in new low-carbon energy generating capacity;
- A reduction in the demand for energy;
- Improved standards for lowering the net energy consumption of housing and infrastructure that are enforced and regularly updated.
The RSE also calls on the Scottish and UK governments to improve political cooperation to ensure robust and sustainable energy policy can be developed and implemented.
Download the full report: Scotland’s Energy Future