6. Cross cutting themes
6.1. Across the questions asked in this consultation paper, a number of key themes emerged. The draft Energy Strategy was perceived as a high level document and, as such, there were a number of requests for greater detail and depth of information across various elements of it. The following paragraphs highlight the key themes.
The need for recognition of the interdependencies between the Scottish and UK energy systems
6.2. There was reference to the need for greater recognition of the interdependencies between the Scottish and UK energy systems, despite the perceived divergence in some areas of Scottish, UK and European policies and strategies.
6.3. Given that many issues relating to energy are reserved matters, respondents noted the need for the Scottish Government to work with the UK Government and other organisations such as BEIS, Ofgem and the National Grid. There was also some reference to the need for the Scottish Government to adopt a stronger influencing role towards the UK Government.
The need for integration across devolved policy areas
6.4. Respondents noted the need for integration across different devolved policy areas within the Scottish Government in order to provide a holistic approach to the Energy Strategy, with some respondents defining a need for more clarity on how the different policy areas will interact. Additionally, there was specific reference to ensure the final Energy Strategy aligns with the Climate Change Bill.
6.5. Respondents also focused on the need for consistency in the Scottish Government's approach to regulatory support. This includes a consistent approach for the planning system, non-domestic rates and building standards to help deliver various proposed aspects of the Energy Strategy, albeit that flexibility is required to allow for the development of innovative technologies.
Maintaining a flexible approach towards local energy systems
6.6. While there was broad support across all respondent groups for harnessing the benefits of a decentralised, low carbon energy sector, there were comments on the need for flexibility to ensure that differing local needs can be met.
6.7. Furthermore, although there was broad support for deeper involvement of local communities and community-owned projects, there was also a preference from many for national co-ordination and support for a centralised body that could provide funding, advice and resources on a consistent basis across Scotland.
6.8. When considering rural energy issues, there were some requests for a greater focus on better energy provision in rural off-gas grid areas of Scotland. There was also a perception from some respondents of the need to simplify delivery mechanisms, particularly given the need to engage community groups to a greater extent.
Supporting a range of technologies within Scotland's energy mix
6.9. While there was support for energy from renewable sources and / or for hydrogen to be part of the energy mix in Scotland, many respondents noted that a range of technologies will be required in order to maintain security of supply in the future.
6.10. There were also calls to ensure a suitable infrastructure across these technologies, in particular grid management, grid improvement and additional connection to the Scottish Islands.
Need for a clear roadmap and decision points
6.11. There are a number of requests for a clear roadmap for the direction of travel and to clarify when decisions will be made at a national level for key sectors and for rolling out new energy choices. This should support the investment required to deliver the energy transition and deliver Scottish Government targets for 2030 and the long term vision expressed in the draft Energy Strategy.
Greater focus on innovation, investment, skills, resources and workforce matters
6.12. Many respondents referred to the importance of the Strategy to give certainty to investors about the economic value from the energy sector, and continue to enhance the Scottish supply chain with respect to energy.
6.13. Respondents referred to the need for ongoing business-led innovation and demonstration projects across the energy sector; again noting the need for flexibility in offerings so that when innovative technologies are further developed, these can be incorporated into Scotland's energy mix.
6.14. Throughout the consultation respondents noted the need for a greater focus on investment, skills, resources and workforce matters.