Energy Inquiry - Call for Views

Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee

Energy Inquiry – Call for Views

The Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee is seeking views as part of its energy inquiry.

Before making a submission, please read our privacy notice about submitting your views to a Committee: Privacy Notice. This tells you about how we process your personal data.

Please note that in most cases your written submission will be published on the Scottish Parliament’s website and may be quoted in the Committee’s report or in Committee meetings (which are public and broadcast).


The Committee has agreed to carry out a three-part energy inquiry, linking an overview of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Scotland’s Future Energy Report, to provide an overview, with consideration of electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure and locally owned energy.

Whilst these subjects will be considered separately, there are key linkages between them in relation to decarbonising energy systems and increasing the generation of renewable electricity, balancing transmission and distribution networks whilst powering increasing numbers of EVs and delivering innovative local energy systems, one of the strategic priorities of Scotland’s Energy Strategy.

The Committee wants to hear the views and experiences of as many people, businesses and organisations as possible, so it is now seeking written views on the following themes.  

Call for Evidence
Electric Vehicles - background

The Switched on Scotland action plan, published in 2017, sets out how the Scottish Government proposes to increase the purchase and use of electric vehicles. It contains a set of 10 outcome-focussed actions covering the period 2017-2020, which aims to:

·         Reduce the cost of owning and driving an EV.

·         Make EVs a convenient fit with the needs and lifestyles of drivers.

·         Promote a change in culture whereby EVs are widely recognised as a preferred alternative to fossil fuelled vehicles.

Subsequently, the Programme for Government has made a series of commitments in relation to electric vehicles (EVs) or ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), including:

·         Phasing out new petrol and diesel cars by 2032, ahead of the UK Government’s 2040 target.

·         Providing £17 million to support the demand for ULEVs through the Low Carbon Transport Loan scheme and expanding the scheme to include used EVs.

·         Creating the conditions to phase out the need for all new petrol and diesel vehicles in Scotland’s public sector fleet by 2030 and phasing out the need for all petrol and diesel cars from the public sector fleet by 2025.

·         Forming a new Strategic Partnership with electricity network companies to improve electric vehicle charging infrastructure and electricity networks across Scotland.

The RSE’s Future Energy Report notes that:

‘In anticipation of the likely additional demand caused by the rollout of ULEVs, National Grid forecasts that peak demand from electric vehicles will result in around an 8% increase by 2050 [5GW]. While significant, the implications of this should be kept in proportion, with consumer behaviour and new technology likely to mitigate and moderate the impact of electric vehicle charging. Moreover, there is the potential for the batteries of charged vehicles to become an asset to the National Grid with “Vehicle to Grid” technology possibly enabling charged vehicles to release electricity back into the grid.’

Focus of the inquiry - EVs

The intention is for the Committee’s inquiry to be an examination of the Scottish Government’s role in powering and increasing the use of EVs. The Committee is seeking focused submissions covering (no more than two pages):

1.    The impact of increasing numbers of EVs on electricity generation, transmission and distribution?

2.    The role of EVs in balancing electricity transmission and distribution networks. Are new battery and grid technologies being adequately supported and rolled out to enable this?

3.    Are enough and the right type of EV charging points delivering accessible charging and keeping up with consumer demand?

4.    Given the declaration of a climate emergency, what more needs to be done to promote a change in culture where EVs are the preferred alternative to fossil fuelled vehicles?

Local Energy - background

The Scottish Government has set targets of 1GW of community and locally owned energy by 2020, and 2GW by 2030.

The most recent progress report, published in June 2018, found that 617.06MW of locally owned, and 79.65MW of community owned projects have been installed; amounting to a total of 697MW, or 70% of the 2020 target and 35% of the 2030 target. This is a 6% increase in operational capacity in the last year. 

A total of 18,830 individual renewable energy installations is split between:

·         432 MW of electrical capacity

·         256 MW of thermal (heat) capacity

·         7 MW of combined heat and power (CHP) capacity

·         2 MW of capacity attributable to ‘unspecified’ technologies or energy categories e.g. energy from waste projects

The largest proportion of operational community and locally owned capacity was on Scottish farms and estates (40%). The next largest ownership capacity was local authorities (18%) followed by local businesses (13%). Since June 2017 the largest proportional increase in operational capacity has been in the local business ownership category, with capacity increasing by 15%. A further 882 MW of community or locally owned renewable energy capacity was estimated to be in different stages of development.

The following table shows the capacity of operational installations at June 2018, by ownership category (MW):

The Scottish Government has made £35 million available to support local energy projects through the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) since its inception in 2013, with £5 million available in 2018. The scheme, which encompasses grants and loans of up to £150,000, is one of the Scottish Government’s primary vehicles to reach its local and community energy targets.

The Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy considers delivering innovative local energy systems to be one of its six strategic priorities, and states that it will “empower […] communities by supporting the development of innovative and integrated local energy systems and networks”. It also undertakes to “develop a local energy systems position paper” which was published for consultation on 9 October 2019. This defines local energy systems as:

[…] ones which find ways to link the supply and demand of energy services within an area across electricity, heat and transport, delivers real value to everyone in local areas, and support the growth of vibrant, net zero local economies.

The consultation sets out:

[…] the approach the Scottish Government wishes to see embedded in practice and behaviours of all stakeholders as Scotland's energy system becomes increasingly decentralised (i.e. energy being generated close to where it will be used).

It does not aim to provide project guidance or delivery models but a vision that will guide and inform decisions taken by everyone participating in or developing local energy systems projects.

The RSE states:

Smart local energy systems can incorporate different areas, including decentralised energy generation, district heating, smart technologies and the use of data analytics. This could be operated by a commercial or industrial organisation that is looking to gain efficiency, reduce costs or increase resilience in its own energy across a site or region. In addition, under such a system, local communities can take direct responsibility for generating and storing the energy they use and, through community ownership, receive the benefits of reduced costs, profits made from this energy or improved energy resilience.

Focus on the inquiry

The Scottish Government is running a consultation on local energy systems, as such, the Committee will focus on the 2020 and 2030 targets, as well as the schemes that support their achievement.

The Committee is therefore invited to seek focused submissions extending to no more than two pages on:

The appropriateness and achievability of the 2020 and 2030 community and locally owned energy targets. What are the key issues impacting the viability of relevant schemes?

Whether it is appropriate to incorporate community and locally owned schemes in the same target and policy area? What more could be done to encourage and support community owned schemes?

Do CARES Grants and Loans adequately support relevant projects?

The role of Distribution  Network Operators (DNOs) in connecting community and locally owned projects. What more could be done by DNOs to encourage and support projects?

What role can smart, decentralised local energy systems play in ensuring security of supply and supporting a just transition to net-zero by 2045?

The role of local authorities in delivering community and locally owned projects. How can these be integrated into local energy systems?

What systemic and behavioural changes are needed to increase the use of smart local energy systems? Has public engagement to date been successful and what more could be done?

The closing date for receipt of submissions is Friday 10 January 2020. Submissions may be accepted after this date; please contact the Committee if you wish to request more time.

How to Submit your views

Your response does not need to cover all the areas specified and can just focus on those that are relevant to you or your organisation. You are also welcome to provide other information that you feel would be relevant.

The Committee welcomes responses to the questions below. You do not need to answer all of these questions and can focus just on those that are relevant to or interest you. Please limit your response to no more than two sides of A4, using the template provided.


The call for written views will close on FRIDAY 10 JANUARY 2020.

Before making a submission, please read our privacy notice about submitting your views to a Committee. This tells you about how we process your personal information.

Please note that in most cases your written submission will be published on the Scottish Parliament’s website and may be quoted in the Committee’s report or in Committee meetings (which are public and broadcast).

We would be grateful if you could keep your submission to a maximum of two sides of A4. Written responses should be sent electronically in Word format (not PDF) to the following address: [email protected].

We encourage members of underrepresented groups to submit evidence. We also welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language. Due to the time required to process and analyse evidence, late submissions will only be accepted with the agreement of the Committee. 

Please also note that submissions with defamatory content, references to ongoing court cases or third parties’ personal information will not be published online.

If you wish to request that your submission be published without your name, please contact us ([email protected] or 0131 348 5403).

If you cannot submit electronically you may send in a hard copy written submission to:

Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee

Room T3.40
Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh EH99 1SP
Please follow the Committee on Twitter (@SP_Economy) or email the Committee at [email protected] for more information.

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