Response 366817786

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Dr Grant Wilson

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1. What are your views on the priorities presented in Chapter 3 for energy supply over the coming decades? In answering, please consider whether the priorities are the right ones for delivering our vision.

1What are your views on the priorities presented for meeting our energy supply needs?
• continuing to support the recovery of North Sea oil and gas as a highly regulated source of hydrocarbon fuels;
Yes - It makes sense to do this from a number of economic, supply chain expertise and security of supply perspectives. It might also be beneficial as it can extend the lifetime of oil and gas infrastructure - which may offer physical assets for CCS, hydrogen, CO2-EOR. Also - as the cost of floating wind generation falls - the platforms built for the oil and gas sector might find further use as hubs, but not if they are fully decommissioned.

• supporting the demonstration and commercialisation of Carbon Capture and Storage and CO2 Utilisation;
Yes - CCS is a crucial part of the decarbonisation strategy - especially as an option for industry and in decarbonising methane to produce hydrogen for heat. The EU funded Acorn CCS project should be leveraged by the Scottish Government. The strong case for at least one of the CCS hubs identified in Lord Oxburgh's CCS report to be based in Scotland should continue to be strongly made.
In terms of smaller scale projects that involve the re-use of CO2 - then consideration should be given to funding for a number of the recommendations in the Scottish Enterprise CO2 utilisation report -
Scotland has a per annum estimated 500,000 tonnes of biogenic CO2 from the food and drink sector, which could be a valuable resource. Scotland should consider funding for pilot projects to utilise this biogenic CO2 - with the production of fertiliser being a particularly interesting avenue to promote the circular economy and help to decarbonise the agricultural sector.

• exploring the role of new energy sources in Scotland’s energy system;
Yes - Scotland should continue to explore the role of new energy sources and also the coordination and control of these. The impact of Scottish Government programmes on innovation in the energy sector should continue to be assessed - to be able to target and maximise the benefits of this innovation.

• increasing renewable energy generation;
Yes - Scotland has a bountiful renewable energy resource - and it makes sense to utilise this as costs continue to fall. Increasing renewable primary electricity provides the energy to electrify parts of the transport sector and potentially some heat demand too.

• increasing the flexibility, efficiency, and resilience of the energy system as a whole.
Yes - this needs to happen to accommodate the increase in primary electricity from renewable sources. The forecasts to double renewable capacity (between 11 and 17 GW) is now modelled in the Climate Change Plan to help to meet the wider decarbonisation target in 2032. This requires the use of new energy vectors to accommodate the primary electricity from this increased capacity. Continued expertise should be developed internally, via climateXexchange, with academia and the private sector to understand the options for flexibility at a whole systems level.

2. What are your views on the actions for Scottish Government set out in Chapter 3 regarding energy supply? In answering, please consider whether the actions are both necessary and sufficient for delivering our vision.

What are your views on the actions set out which support these priorities?
• following publication of the final Climate Change Plan, review the role for new technologies and energy sources as transitional fuels for use in transport, heat and industry, with practical demonstrations where necessary;
Yes - the work in this area needs to continue. There is little consensus at the moment around the future of the natural gas network - and additional research needs to be undertaken to build knowledge around various options.

• consider how planning can support the future energy system, through policies within the current and future iterations of Scottish Planning Policy and the National Planning Framework;
Yes - this helps as a devolved policy lever to encourage policy ambitions.

• collaborate with UK government, local government, industry and academia on the UK hydrogen routemap, establishing the strategic basis for hydrogen in the energy system, whilst continuing to fund innovative projects involving hydrogen.
Yes - and in particular - there may be scope to fund pilot hydrogen projects that use hydrogen as a feedstock in the production of ammonia for fertiliser, and synthetic hydrocarbons. There may also be opportunities to collaborate (part fund) on work undertaken by the hydrogen community, UKERC or BEIS to look at the strategic role of hydrogen in the energy system, as many of the challenges are not unique to Scotland (although there are clear distinctions in several areas).

3. What are your views on the proposed target to supply the equivalent of 50% of all Scotland’s energy consumption from renewable sources by 2030? In answering, please consider the ambition and feasibility of such a target.

What are your views on the proposed 2030 target of 50% of Scotland’s energy consumption being met by renewable energy?
A major challenge with any % target like this is whether the Scottish Government has the devolved policy levers to control the trajectory towards the target; e.g. UK wide changes of policy direction through the Levy Control Framework have impacted the level of renewable investment in Scotland - and the CCS competition. Another challenge is to reduce perverse incentives caused by a renewable target; would imported renewables count in the target e.g. liquid biofuel for transport or solid biofuel for heat and industry?
A strong target does help to position Scotland with a great sense of ambition (globally) - but whether this could be a central target with a +- 5% banding to allow some flexibility is worth considering. This might be particularly beneficial if there is a desire to allow additional lifetime extensions to the nuclear plants to be considered.
The overall target (rather than a heat, transport or electricity target) - also provides flexibility, and this is wise given a number of unknowns in terms of transition pathways and timings.
An alternative target that might be suitable is to increase the target levels for community owned generation (either as shares of large onshore / offshore projects, or wholly owned smaller projects). This could potentially be better controlled at a devolved policy level, through the concepts for the Energy Bond and the Government owned energy company. Community owned generation assets are likely to be renewable, which will therefore help to meet the 50% renewable energy target.

4. What are your views for the development of an appropriate target to encourage the full range of low and zero carbon energy technologies?

What steps can be taken to make Scotland the first place in the UK to see commercial development of ‘subsidy-free’ renewables?
There is a chance that too many targets cause confusion or outcomes that are not consistent. Also - the setting of targets can sometimes be seen as a cap - rather than a minimum to be achieved. However, if an 'appropriate' target is useful to help provide clarity and ambition - then these should be judicially used.

5. What ideas do you have about how the onshore wind industry can achieve the commercial development of onshore wind in Scotland without subsidy?

What are your views on the future of thermal generation in Scotland, with a particular focus on repowering Scotland’s existing thermal generation sites?
The increased PPA agreement is an interesting way to allow revenues from public bodies to flow to projects.

6. What are your views on the potential future for Scotland’s decommissioned thermal generation sites?

What are your views on the role of hydrogen in Scotland’s energy mix and what can government do to support this?
As flexibility is widely expected to have an ever greater role in future electrical systems - the provision of flexible systems at these decommissioned thermal generation sites is worth consideration.

7. What ideas do you have about how we can develop the role of hydrogen in Scotland’s energy mix?

What are your views on the on the four priority areas for a transformation in energy use?
Private transport using hydrogen fuel cells may well continue to find it a challenge to compete with the falling costs and market acceptance of electric vehicles. There is a logic to using hydrogen in the transport sector - but public preference for lower cost EVs seems a high hurdle. For HGV, bus and coach sectors though - there should be a continued interest in hydrogen as a low-carbon energy vector. Support for hydrogen in the transport sector should therefore consider a targeted approach for these areas.
There is little consensus around the future of heat provision as there are a number of different routes to decarbonise heat, each with their advantages and disadvantages. Hydrogen is interesting from the perspective of being a fuel - and therefore much cheaper to store than heat itself, and can be produced in several ways. Hydrogen may therefore have a strategic role to play in the provision of interseasonal stores of energy, combined with a number of fuel-cell, or turbine technologies.
Electrolysers to create hydrogen can also provide a despatchable demand to help balance the electrical network - and with an increasing capacity of wind generation - this demand side flexibility is viewed with increasing importance.

8. What are your views on the priorities presented in Chapter 4 for transforming energy use over the coming decades? In answering, please consider whether the priorities are the right ones for delivering our vision.

What are you views on the specific actions identified under each priority area?
• addressing the need to reduce demand and increase energy efficiency through the development of Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme;
Yes - this provides the focus that a radical reduction in demand and increase in energy efficiency needs.

• helping energy consumers to manage their bills, harnessing smart technology in the home and supporting new business models in the retail energy market;
This needs to be built on trust - so there may be a strong overseeing and advisory role by one of the energy institutions that currently enjoys a high level of trust. There is also a role here to build trust into the offering of the Government owned supply company - where trust and transparency and fairness are part of the main driving forces - not just cost alone.

• supporting the introduction of viable, lower carbon alternatives across all modes of transport;
Yes - and this should continue to be creative - e.g. could car park provision by local authorities be linked to the concept of the Government owned supply company? Park and ride with greater amounts of electrical charging capacity and the provision of multi MWhs electrical storage to provide an offpeak / peak balancing capability. This makes use of curtailed energy (at night).
Government should also be open to the adoption of electric vehicles reaching a tipping point and being much more rapid than the 'by 2032 over 40% of new cars sold each year are Ultra Low Emission Vehicles' might suggest. Also - there will be an impact once autonomous vehicles are available in the market - and this is an area the energy strategy needs to eventually have a view on.

• delivering enhanced competitiveness and improved energy efficiency in Scotland’s manufacturing and industrial sectors.
SMEs find it particularly challenging to understand and invest in the technologies to increase energy efficiency - so any help in this regard that is targeted at the SME group would be welcome.

9. What are your views on the actions for Scottish Government set out in Chapter 4 regarding transforming energy use? In answering, please consider whether the actions are both necessary and sufficient for delivering our vision.

What are your views on how best to reflect the EU ambition to implement a EU wide 30% energy efficiency target to 2030?
• consult upon the minimum standards of energy efficiency in private rented sector housing;
Yes - the minimum standards need to be improved - and consultation should take place regarding the length of time for improved standards to be in place, the incentives to help make this happen, and the penalties that private landlords will face by not meeting these standards.

• provide new incentives and packages of business support to help facilitate industrial decarbonisation, through Scotland’s Manufacturing Action Plan and SEEP
Yes - a targeted way to incentivise efficiency

• seek to provide leadership and advice to industry through the Scottish Energy Advisory Board, and associated leadership groups, pooling expertise from the key industrial sectors in Scotland and providing a strategic framework for managing this transition;
Yes - but not exclusive to this organisation. Targeting SMEs via other routes should be considered.

• enable local authorities to take a strategic approach to decarbonising heat and improving energy efficiency at local level, including identifying and developing opportunities to reduce or utilise energy waste from industrial processes.
Yes - but capacity building may need to be part of this approach at a local authority level.

10. What ideas do you have about what energy efficiency target we should set for Scotland, and how it should be measured? In answering, please consider the EU ambition to implement an energy efficiency target of 30% by 2030 across the EU.

There is a challenge for energy intensity targets - that rely on a measure of GDP or equivalent that has a financial element, given the time value of money, and how this is calculated.
The consumption of primary energy across the whole system (natural gas, coal, primary electricity etc.) should still provide a suitable target for reduction - especially as the electrification of transport is likely to provide greater efficiencies.
Maybe a number of targets can be run in parallel - as these would provide valuable knowledge of further targets post 2030. Both weather dependent and absolute measures in terms of energy efficiency or consumption are helpful.

11. What are your views on the priorities presented in Chapter 5 for developing smart, local energy systems over the coming decades? In answering, please consider whether the priorities are the right ones for delivering our vision.

What are your views on the priorities presented for delivering a smarter local energy system?
• directly supporting the demonstration and growth of new innovative projects
Yes - Scotland should continue to promote pilot and smaller demonstration projects itself - and partner in larger demonstration projects. It should also seek to provide a market pull through public bodies and the Government owned supply company concept.

• developing a strategic approach to future energy systems in partnership between communities, the private and public sectors.
All three are required to deliver the vision - so yes. Community involvement is particularly important as wider and longer-term benefits can accrue from the involvement of communities.

12. What are your views on the actions for Scottish Government set out in Chapter 5 regarding smart, local energy systems? In answering, please consider whether the actions are both necessary and sufficient for delivering our vision.

What are you views on the specific actions identified under each priority area?
• continue to support low carbon investors through a variety of existing Scottish Government grant and loan support schemes – including REIF – carefully assessing projects in order to maximise the wider system benefits of low carbon investment;
Yes - and the interaction of these and the Government owned supply company concept will need clarified.

• under CARES continue to support community and local renewable energy schemes.
Yes - with possible greater levels of access to capital through the energy bond concept.

13. What are your views on the idea of a Government-owned energy company to support the development of local energy? In answering, please consider how a Government-owned company could address specific market failure or add value.

What role do you see for a potential Government owned energy company that would add value to the current landscape supporting the development of local energy?
The level of trust in energy supply companies is not high, and has been steadily eroded since privatisation - this is a specific market failure that a Government-owned company could seek to address by being fully transparent e.g. in terms of pricing. As a not-for-profit company, it may have more flexibility to try a range of different pricing strategies - which will provide additional competition in the market place.

14. What are your views on the idea of a Scottish Renewable Energy Bond to allow savers to invest in and support Scotland’s renewable energy sector? In answering, please consider the possible roles of both the public and private sectors in such an arrangement.

What are your views on the need for a Scottish Renewable Energy Bond, the potential structure, and the role of both the public and private sector in such an arrangement?
Scotland would seem well placed with a suitable financial sector and a bountiful renewable energy resource to develop a Scottish Renewable Energy Bond. Existing community energy frameworks would be well placed to comment on the scope of this.
This should initially be targeted at providing funding and expertise to community energy schemes - but as significant expertise and capital flows develop - it may be opportune to consider the Bond providing expertise and making investments outwith Scotland.

16. What ideas do you have about how delivery of the Energy Strategy should be monitored?

Do you have a view on the way in which the Energy Strategy is monitored?
Have an independent group with a number of external individuals from a range of sectors including academia. Potentially this could be under an existing organisation such as the Scottish Energy Advisory Board.
This would help to address some of the problems identified in the Levy Control Framework inquiry at Westminster.

17. What are you views on the proposed approach to deepening public engagement set out in Chapter 6?

What are you views on the proposed approach to deepening public engagement under the Energy Strategy?
Public engagement can be helped by providing Scottish level data at a greater level of detail (daily rather than quarterly) - or even at a geographically detailed level. Scotland could seek to not only be a leader in the decarbonisation of its energy systems - but also to be a leader in the collection of data, and the dissemination and presentation of data.
Data is key to deepening public engagement.