Renewable Energy Summit | Climate Emergency Series

Renewable Energy Summit Image

Scotland has a natural geographic advantage that leaves us well-placed to take a global lead renewable technologies, with renewable electricity already generating the equivalent of 90% of Scotland’s energy consumption.

The Scottish and UK Governments have recently sought to build on this, with the Prime Minister’s 10 point plan setting a target of quadrupling our off-shore wind capacity to 40GW by 2030 – enough to power every home in the UK  – and the Scottish Government pledging to invest £1.6bn over the next Parliament towards expanding and accelerating heat and energy efficiency programmes.

As we pursue a just and Green Recovery from the pandemic, and in the year Scotland hosts the world at COP26, Holyrood’s Climate Emergency Series: Renewable Energy Summit heard how we can begin the hard work of delivering on the objectives that we have set for ourselves and recover from the worsening climate crisis.

This event was part of Holyrood’s Climate Emergency Series, held in the run to COP26. The series engages key decision-makers and stakeholders in discussions about how Scotland can secure a net-zero through a more inclusive and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.  

Holyrood COP26 Fringe Festival

Holyrood’s COP26 Fringe events will take place over 4 days (Wed 3rd – Sat 6th November) in the centre of Glasgow, with each day exploring a different theme. The Festival is planned to take place in-person but there will also be hybrid events over the 4 days that can be joined online. Find out more about Holyrood’s COP26 Fringe Festival here.

Martin T I Wright
Andrew Smith
Greenbackers Investment Capital
Sarah Boyack MSP
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy, and Just Transition
The Scottish Parliament
David Pearson
Group Sustainable Development Director
Star Refrigeration Ltd
Ian McCarlie
Pinsent Masons
Dr Gareth Davies
Managing Director
Aquatera Ltd
Andrew Renton
Principal & Castletown Law Founder
Castletown Law
Andy McDonald
Head of Low Carbon Transition
Scottish Enterprise
Joanne Allday
Strategic Business Development Manager
Port of Cromarty Firth
Gavin MacKay
Head of Energy Industries
Highlands & Islands Enterprise
Benj Sykes
Head of UK Market Development, Consenting & External Affairs
Alan Brown MP
SNP Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Dr Jacqueline Redmond
Executive Director
Power Networks Demonstration Centre, University of Strathclyde
Prof. James Curran MBE FRSE
Visiting Professor
Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Strathclyde
Teresa Bray
Chief Executive
Prof. Keith Bell
Co-Director and Member
UK Energy Research Centre and Committee on Climate Change

In our opening session we will hear from the UK Government in discussing how increasing our renewable capacity in Scotland forms an integral component of the UK’s Green Recovery and the aims of both the UK-Energy Strategy and Prime Minister’s recently published Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, which aims to ensure every home in the UK is powered by renewables by 2030.


Our second session will examine the current state of play; where we are in terms of capacity across the board and where we need to be to tackle the climate emergency.

The Committee for Climate Change Sixth Carbon Budget, published in December 2020, described off-shore wind at the backbone of the future, yet is currently a literal drop in the ocean compared to on-shore wind, which makes up 70% of the UK’s current renewable energy capacity and has double the potential capacity consented for in Scotland. The UK Government has recently committed to investing in and growing the sector, and indeed, the UK’s ability to achieve net-zero would be imperilled without it. How do we best ensure optimal and inclusive growth of the sector to create a multiplier effect on Scotland and the UK’s renewables capacity?

There are several challenges facing the sector both now and in the future particularly pertaining to regulation, funding and planning/consent. And in this year, with Brexit also having implications for our domestic energy markets and supply chains and our ability to attract international investment, this session will be solutions and strategy-focussed as to how we meet the barriers to progress.

The ultimate end and purpose of encouraging the greater deployment of renewable energy is to enable the widespread decarbonisation of our homes, buildings and outdoor spaces. Heat, transport and industry are still responsible for the highest percentage of emissions polluting the planet. Recent lockdowns have led to relative respite and encouraged both greater public appreciation of outdoor space and nature as well as wider uptake on active travel, but conversely the Scottish Government missed its 2020 heat target to have 11% of non-electrical heat demand met by renewable sources, hitting just 6.5%. How do we speed up and enhance the role that renewable sources of energy can play in decarbonising our industries, city and town centre and buildings?

One of the defining features of a distinctive Scottish approach to the whole challenge of achieving net-zero before 2050 has been a commitment to the principle of a ‘Just Transition’. The Just Transition Commission commented in its Interim Report that achieving net-zero entailed increasing our deployment of renewables. This session will analyse how we do that, maximising social and economic benefits equitably and ensuring left-behind communities, often comprising the rural economy – who are also more likely to be affected by this transition – benefit.

If the UK is to keep its market-leading position, then we must be developing the clean tech which will enable us to unleash the potential of hitherto untapped – or under-tapped – sources of renewable energy such as solar, tidal and green hydrogen. For example, in the case of solar energy, the CCC’s Sixth Carbon Budget stated it expected the portfolio to increase 6x between 2019 and

2035. In this session, we will exhibit new business models and discuss the support our world-leading R&D base needs to get us there.

A clean power sector will be the backbone of our net zero transition. But as the Climate Change Committee has highlighted, our journey towards a fully decarbonised power grid also needs to meet the challenge of operating a system which will need to rely on large amounts of energy from renewables. In this session, we will explore how different technologies can increase flexibility in the power system to help bridge the gap and what can be done to bring them forward and accelerate our transition to a zero carbon power system.

    Event Details
    • Start Date
      17 Mar 2021 9:45 am
    • End Date
      18 Mar 2021 3:00 pm
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