It is underpinned by a set of key principles and associated outcomes it wishes to see adopted. They represent the values that will support a just, inclusive energy transition – one that has people at its centre, supported by strong partnership working and collaboration at a local community level.
This approach aligns with the Scottish Government’s overall vision for recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic in a way that builds a fairer and greener society and economy.
Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, said:
“A shift towards more localised energy solutions is a vital part of our journey to a net zero future, with local energy developing alongside, and within, a vibrant national energy network.
“Consumers and Scotland’s local communities are integral to both our green recovery and the ways in which we will rebuild following the pandemic. I want to ensure they remain front and centre, and able to remerge stronger with increased resilience. This Local Energy Policy Statement, underpinned by ten principles sets out how we can achieve this.
The ten key principles, which fall under five key themes, are as follows.
- Undertake early engagement with people who will be involved directly and indirectly.
- Recognise and tailor support to the different ways people will want to engage.
- Local energy projects should reflect local characteristics.
- Focus on collaborative strategic approaches and partnership working.
Network and infrastructure
- All activity should provide a high level of security and quality of supply to all, with an emphasis on consideration of existing energy infrastructure first.
- The design and operation of energy networks should consider the whole energy system while supporting local, regional and national solutions.
Pathway to commercialisation
- Prioritise projects that demonstrate a commercially viable and replicable opportunity, in line with the principle of inclusive growth.
- Prioritise and act upon ‘low regret’ opportunities that support net zero emissions.
- Local energy projects should seek to support the creation of high value jobs, including the developing of the Scottish supply chain.
- Any changes to the energy system should ensure a just transition for Scotland’s workforce.
For over a decade, the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) has provided support to hundreds of local community groups and other eligible organisations to develop, own and/or take a stake in local renewable energy projects across Scotland. The post COVID-19 green recovery now requires a shift in focus to decarbonisation as the key driver for community-led action at a local level.
The Local Energy Policy Statement also outlines how CARES will:
- establish a register to promote the adoption of these key principles
- ensure the principles are aligned with Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies (LHEES)
- promote the adoption of these principles.