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Saturday, October 1, 2022

Scottish Government Statement on UK Government’s Energy Security Strategy

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Commenting on the publication of the UK Government’s Energy Security Strategy, Net Zero and Energy Secretary Michael Matheson said:

“We are in the midst of a very real and unsettling energy bills crisis which demands bold, urgent and decisive action from the UK Government.

“They hold many of the powers required to support households – both in the short and long term. 

“This crisis comes against the backdrop of the climate emergency, which has not gone away.

“The most recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) make it very clear that business as usual is simply not an option.

“In this context, it is bitterly disappointing that the UK Government’s Energy Security Strategy fails to adequately address either of these pressing issues.

“We will take time to carefully consider how the Strategy affects our own, clear objectives – to deliver a just transition to net zero for our energy sector, and for households, businesses and consumers across Scotland.

“It is illogical that the Strategy has been published without any meaningful engagement with the Scottish Government – despite the vital role that Scotland plays in exporting electricity to the rest of the UK.

“The Scottish Government’s position is clear that unlimited extraction of fossil fuels is not consistent with our climate obligations and we have consistently called on the UK Government, to urgently re-assess all approved oil licenses where drilling has not yet commenced against, our climate commitments.

“By refusing to recognise this, whilst demonstrating a failure of leadership to support an acceleration of low carbon heating and home energy efficiency measures, the Strategy has completely failed to take into account the agreements made at COP26, advice from its own statutory advisors, and the most recent reports from the IPCC.

“It is also an approach which will do nothing to improve our energy security in the coming years.

“New oil and gas fields do not present a timely solution, and even once operational, the extracted fossil fuels will still be affected by the same global market forces which have contributed to the current energy price crisis.

“Similarly, in addition to the cost and environmental concern the commitment to new nuclear power stations, which will take years if not decades to become operational, will provide no additional energy security in the immediate term.

“Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine only serves to highlight the importance of accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources and addressing the affordability of energy.

“The Scottish Government’s own plans include more than doubling the country’s onshore wind capacity and supporting the world’s largest floating offshore wind leasing round.

“ScotWind puts Scotland at the forefront of the global development of offshore wind, particularly floating, and represents a massive step forward in our transition to net zero.

“Scotland has some of the most extensive renewable generation capabilities in Europe but investments in these areas are being held back by unfair network charges.

“We recognise that this is a complex area that requires careful consideration however it is concerning that, despite repeated calls, the UK Government does not appear to be considering a new, fair approach to encourage further investment in renewables.

“We are ready to work with the UK Government to consider solutions for a fairer system which supports renewable generation in the best locations.

“I am also disappointed that the UK Government has once again failed to reverse its decision on the Scottish Cluster and sufficiently back carbon capture and storage in Scotland – unlike the Scottish Government, which has offered £80 million to support the technology.

“In doing so, the UK Government has again failed to show leadership in supporting our energy workforce, provide support and confidence to the sector, or seize the opportunities that quite simply must be grasped to secure a just transition to net zero. 

“In Scotland, we will continue to focus on reducing reliance on fossil fuels and our overall energy demand while accelerating the deployment of renewable energy, creating a true just transition for our existing workforce and a greener, fairer future for everyone.”

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