Scotland’s innovation potential to realise a new integrated energy system

How vision, innovation and investment into a new, better integrated energy system will help Scotland meet carbon targets, create jobs and secure an international leadership position. 


Publication date: September 2015

The report outlines a vision for Scotland to harness its abundant natural resources and world class technology innovation capabilities to develop a dynamic, smart, energy efficient energy system.

Scotland has a rich history of innovation and has been at the forefront of many global technology breakthroughs over the last century. Looking to the future, climate change remains one of the most significant global challenges and the Scottish Government has embraced this challenge with ambitious targets for reducing the country’s carbon emissions.

Whilst Scotland is well on its way to meeting its electricity demand target, progress on heat and transport needs to accelerate significantly over the next five years.  Scotland has a number of distinctive characteristics highlighted in the report, that present both challenges and opportunities in the move to a low carbon energy system:

  • Significant natural resources;
  • Very strong academic and industrial capabilities;
  • Relatively high levels of heat demand and fuel poverty;
  • Limited interconnection; and
  • High urban population density

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. The report draws on the fact that Denmark has proven an integrated energy system can work and that smart energy technologies are becoming more available. 

Key to unlocking Scotland’s integrated energy future is targeted innovation and in particular the report recommends:

  • Further targeted innovation to drive down cost and develop the supply chain to realise Scotland’s renewable potential in offshore wind, wave, tidal and bio-energy.
  • Innovation in energy storage, which is critical to facilitating further investment in wind and will be a key enabler in local decentralised energy systems.
  • Further innovation in technology, business models and installation techniques to facilitate the uptake of district heating, with a focus on integrating renewable energy and thermal storage.
  • Innovation in energy management software solutions for buildings, home and the transport sector, which will be critical to a dynamic, smart and efficient energy system.
  • More innovative solutions to engage end consumers to make their energy usage and costs more tangible. The opportunity to innovate on the back of smart meter roll-out is critical.


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