The First Minister has said there will need to be “significant investment” to upgrade the electrical grid in the coming years as the country looks to move towards renewables.
Concerns have been raised about the capacity of the grid in Scotland, with the number of renewable energy projects north of the border increasing.
Humza Yousaf – who this week returned from a trip to the Cop28 climate summit in Dubai – co-chaired the first Scottish Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) on Wednesday at the University of Strathclyde.
Speaking after the meeting, he said the grid must not be a “barrier to net zero” and investment should “proceed at pace”.
He said: “Scotland is at a pivotal point in the energy transition, and although we have already made great strides towards net zero, there is still more to do to maximise our enormous renewables potential as we make the move away from fossil fuels.
“As we do so, we must ensure that transition is fair and just for the communities and workers who depend on our energy sector.
“It is clear that significant investment is needed to ensure the grid does not become a barrier to net zero – grid investment must proceed at the pace and scale required to enable the full use of current and future renewables capacity through projects like ScotWind.
“While we welcome recent developments from the UK Government on electricity infrastructure, the Scottish Government must be involved closely as plans develop to ensure they deliver on the promise to speed up the connections process, upgrade the grid, and provide lasting benefits for communities.
“Realising the vision of our draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan will deliver affordable, secure and clean energy, and benefit communities across Scotland by providing high-quality jobs and economic opportunities.
“The views of those consulted – including across the energy sector, and those with whom I met today – are vitally important, we are taking the time needed to respond to the views they have expressed.”
Professor Sir Jim McDonald, another co-chair of the group, said the SEAB “plays an important role in facilitating discussions between Government, industry, business leaders and academia on the opportunities and challenges in Scotland’s energy sector”.
He added: “The common mission of SEAB members is to agree priorities, actions and the joint investments required to build a low carbon economy that not only ensures energy security but seeks to create the net zero pathway to create jobs, drive Scotland’s economy and boost prosperity.
“I look forward to working closely with the First Minister and our SEAB members as the Scottish Government develops its Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan ahead of its publication next summer.”
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