Scottish Parliament Committee supports RSE call for whole-systems approach to energy

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), Scotland’s National Academy, has welcomed the publication of a report supporting two recommendations from its major inquiry into Scotland’s future energy requirements.

The Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee conducted a three-part inquiry on Scotland’s energy policy, including a review of the RSE’s Scotland’s Energy Future report.

In its findings, the Committee called for the Scottish Government to put in place a long-term, strategic framework covering all aspects of energy which it suggested could include the establishment of an independent expert advisory commission on energy policy for Scotland, as recommended by the RSE.

The Committee backs a further RSE recommendation that Scotland requires a clearly articulated position on security of supply and must decide whether domestic energy-generating capacity should be increased, and asks the Scottish Government to set out its position on generating capacity, storage and interconnection.

Scotland’s Energy Future was published in June 2019 and describes the significant challenges faced by Scotland, and the rest of the world, to continue to produce the energy it requires, while attempting to meet carbon reduction targets. It warns 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.

Other recommendations include: 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; and improved standards for lowering the net energy consumption of housing and infrastructure that are enforced and regularly updated.

Sir Muir Russell, RSE Fellow and Chair of the Scotland’s Energy Future inquiry, said:

“Our inquiry was designed to stimulate debate on Scotland’s energy needs and facilitate meaningful engagement with government, as well as the public, industry and other interested bodies. To be the subject of analysis and discussion at a Scottish Parliament committee is exactly the type of outcome we hoped for. We are delighted to see the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee build upon our work and look forward to seeing the Scottish Government’s response to the Committee’s findings.”