Draft Scottish Energy Strategy

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 24th January 2017.

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Photo of Paul Wheelhouse Paul Wheelhouse Scottish National Party

We have touched on issues to do with fuel poverty. There is a particular rural dimension and I know that Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have done work in the past looking at the high cost of living in rural areas. I know that the cost of living is higher in rural areas, which means that fuel poverty is a particularly acute problem in rural areas, particularly in the island communities of Scotland.

Scotland’s consumers, households and businesses are very much at the heart of the strategy and we are looking for opportunities for consumers and suppliers alike to address the impact of fuel poverty in particular. There will be a renewed focus on energy efficiency. We want to seek—as I referenced for Ms Baillie—an energy market that works for everyone, working with UK ministers where possible. We want to create local, vibrant energy economies across Scotland in which we can do that and in which there are perhaps local arrangements for electricity supply and demand. We are committed to increasing the scope of that and to working in partnership with host communities where renewable projects are taking place.

We have upped our game—we met our target for the amount of community energy to be generated by 2020 five years early, so we have doubled the 2020 target. A key part of our energy strategy remains to achieve 1GW of community and locally owned energy by 2020, and we have an aspiration for at least half of newly consented and renewable energy projects by 2020 to have an element of shared ownership. That should also help to ensure that economic benefits are felt at a local level.