The session led by Andrew Lever, Director of Innovation and Paul Wedgwood, Head of Programmes in Scotland was joined by a number of other members of the Scottish Parliament representing regions across Scotland.
Special focus was given to Scotland’s innovation potential and the opportunity to move towards a more integrated energy system. As Scotland’s energy system transitions to a renewable and distributed one, more flexible solutions, such as storage, are required. To unlock benefits at every level of a system often requires overcoming a series of barriers, from political and educational to technological and financial. The benefits of making this happen need to be made clear. A move towards an integrated smart energy system now would put Scotland in a leadership position internationally. Such a vision would see Scotland generating significantly more power from renewable resources and see power, heat and transport sectors more deeply connected.
Other notable themes included the challenges of initiating and embedding behavioural change and how to capitalise on Scotland's unique characteristics. The country has significant renewable resources (a quarter of European offshore renewables potential) and 45% of UK woodland resource. Concentrated population density (80% of people live in urban areas) present opportunities for effective and reliable low carbon transport solutions.
The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the transition to a low carbon Scottish economy, necessary to meet the current targets set out in the Climate Change Act, to reduce emissions by 42% by 2020, and by 80% by 2050, and to seize business opportunities and a better quality of life. Scotland experiences high levels of fuel poverty, with 35% of people falling within this category compared to 10% in England.
The briefing was convened at the Scottish Parliament, which last month became the first parliament in the world to be awarded triple certification to the Carbon Trust Standard in recognition of achievements in reducing carbon, waste and water use.
This independent certification is awarded by the Carbon Trust to organisations who demonstrate that their commitment to sustainability is matched by genuine progress. To achieve the triple standard, there an organisation has to show year-on-year reductions in of carbon emissions, waste output and water use.