The Scottish Government announced the publication on Tuesday of its draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, its proposed strategy to deliver a net zero energy system, including goals to significantly ramp the deployment of renewable energy capacity and energy, and to shift away from fossil fuel usage.
The plan also envisions the generation of surplus renewable hydrogen and electricity for export, supporting decarbonization efforts across Europe.
In a statement accompanying the release of the plan, Scottish Net Zero & Energy Secretary Michel Matheson outlined the rationale for accelerating the transition towards becoming a “renewables powerhouse,” including increasing energy security to help “mitigate against future global market volatility and the high energy prices which are making life so difficult for so many people across Scotland.”
“While we do not hold all the powers to address these issues at source, this Strategy sets out how we can achieve an energy transition that ensures we have sufficient, secure and affordable energy to meet our needs, support Scotland’s economic growth and capitalise on future sustainable export opportunities.”
The plan includes proposals to dramatically grow Scotland’s clean energy capacity, with ambitions to add 20 GW of renewable electricity generation capacity to its current 13.4 GW by 2030 – producing the equivalent of nearly 50% of current demand – and reaching 25 GW of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen power by 2045, with an interim goal of 5 GW by 2030.
Additional proposals include increasing the contributions of solar, hydro power and marine energy to the energy mix, and accelerating the decarbonization of industry, transport and heat in buildings, as well as recommendations for policy actions for the UK Government, relating to energy security, market mechanisms, network investment and market regulation.
The plan also proposes setting final policy positions on fossil fuel energy, and proposes consultations against new exploration for North Sea oil and gas.
Just Transition Minister Richard Lochhead said:
“The oil and gas industry has made a vast contribution to Scotland’s economy and its workers are some of the most highly-skilled in the world. But Scotland’s oil and gas basin is now a mature resource.”
According to the draft, the energy sector remains a significant source of employment in Scotland, representing 77,000 jobs as of 2019, including 57,000 jobs directly or indirectly dependent on offshore oil and gas. The new proposals include a Just Transition plan for the energy sector, including support for the energy workforce, and increasing jobs in energy generation and supply chain. The plan envisions overall growth in energy sector jobs, forecasting 82,000 jobs in 2030, with over half in low-carbon production areas, and 77,000 low carbon energy jobs by 2050.
“A just transition to a net zero energy system will secure alternative employment and economic opportunities for those already working in the industry and will provide new green jobs in Scotland for future generations.”
Click here to access the draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan.