The Scottish Energy Networks Strategic Leadership Group has set out a new series of principles designed to ensure Scotland’s communities are at the heart of the drive to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2045 - five years earlier than the rest of the UK.
The group, chaired by Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, brings together Scotland’s energy providers, regulatory body and independent consumer representation. Its eight agreed principles are:
- supporting the pace and nature of Scotland’s ambitions and targets
- justifying network investment
- providing evidence of network change
- aligning policy with planning, development and operation of the network
- keeping current and future consumers at the heart of decision making
- fostering sustainable economic growth
- helping achieve local, community ambition and development
- and considering the role network investment can take in delivering a Just Transition.
The new principles for the development of Scotland’s gas and electricity networks aim to benefit every community, urban and rural, in a fair transition to a zero carbon economy, an essential step in combating global climate change.
Scotland’s Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “I am delighted that our Energy Networks Strategic Leadership Group has published principles for the development of Scotland’s energy networks. I have been pleased to see the positive and cooperative approach taken by all the SLG members, including Scotland’s gas and electricity network companies, and Ofgem, in identifying how we work together to deliver a Just Transition to net-zero across Scotland. This shows Scotland continuing to lead the way in decarbonising our energy system.”
Supporting the new principles, Scott Mathieson, Director of Network Planning and Regulation at SP Energy Networks said: “The energy network in Scotland has been in place for more than sixty years. It was built to fit the country’s energy needs when a traditional one-way flow took energy from where it was generated to where it was needed. Now, the way energy is generated, distributed and used is changing as more wind and solar power come onto the system and we need to be able to power this change and do so at pace.
“Every corner of the country is set to see huge changes as part of this energy revolution. On domestic transport and heating alone, we estimate the UK is going to need about 20 million EV charging points and over 22 million heat pumps. Working together to achieve net zero through a reliable and sustainable energy network will bring investment, jobs and training for decades to come, helping to deliver a green recovery.”
Tackling climate change is both a challenge and an opportunity for Scotland. In the year when Glasgow is set to host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) bringing together heads of state, climate experts and negotiators to collaborate and agree coordinated action to tackle climate change, the Scottish Energy Networks Strategic Leadership Group aims to show what can be achieved when government, industry and regulators come together.