25th June 2018 12.30 – 17.00
Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, High School Yards, Edinburgh, EH1 1LZ
Energy Efficient Scotland is the cornerstone of Scottish Government’s policy for reducing energy demand and decarbonising heat supply in the residential and service sectors. This programme is currently in the pilot phase, with Local Authorities performing energy retrofits and developing Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies for their areas. As the programme develops it is critical to reflect on progress and the direction of travel, for all elements of the policy. Consequently, ClimateXChange, the Heat and the City team at the University of Edinburgh, and the Centre for Energy Policy at the University of Strathclyde recently co-hosted a workshop bringing together policy makers, local authorities, researchers, and practitioners working on different aspects of this critical area of energy policy. The workshop aimed to:
The presentations commenced with broader policy, economic, and socioeconomic perspectives on the development and contribution of Energy Efficient Scotland. Andy Robinson, from Scottish Government, noted that periodic reviews had been built into the Energy Efficient Scotland programme to allow for learning opportunities and policy development. Andy emphasised the two key areas that Energy Efficient Scotland is designed to target: fuel poverty and climate change. Ragne Low, from the Centre for Energy Policy at the University of Strathclyde, presented the Centre’s recent work on the potential economic impacts of the Energy Efficient Scotland programme. She highlighted that the investment in energy efficiency implied in the Energy Efficient Scotland programme could produce a sustained GDP expansion of around 0.2% for Scotland. She also emphasised that achieving this depended upon all the investment being delivered and the full energy efficiency gains realised. Assessing the wider value of energy efficiency planning and investment, and securing the energy savings, was discussed by Dr Tanja Groth, from the Carbon Trust. Tanja explained socioeconomic modelling tools and their importance for an inclusive appraisal of benefits in Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies. These strategies, currently being piloted by Local Authorities, are intended to work as an area-based plan for heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency interventions, with a timetable for implementation.
The second half of the afternoon zoomed in on some more specific elements of the programme delivery. The session commenced with Sarah Jane Stewart, from Atkins, discussing their work in supporting the pilot development of Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies with Local Authorities. She highlighted the diversity in the building stock across Scotland, how this was being accounted for on an area-by-area basis, and emphasised the need for surveys and high quality accurate data to provide baseline information. Elaine Waterston presented the Energy Saving Trust’s work on the technical monitoring of the buildings that are part of the first set of Energy Efficient Scotland pilots. She emphasised the role of monitoring and evaluation for informing future decision making for the national programme. Professor Jan Webb and Dr Faye Wade, from the University of Edinburgh’s Heat and the City team, then presented their work on the social evaluation of the Energy Efficient Scotland pilots. They highlighted some of the challenges that Local Authorities have faced in delivering the Energy Efficient Scotland pilots, including: difficulties in gathering up-to-date information; bringing together a variety of delivery partners; understanding how different financial contributions can be made to work together for retrofit delivery.
The session included attendees from multiple sectors, including: policy, local authorities, academics, and industry practitioners. The presentations stimulated discussions around: how to make investing in energy efficiency appeal to different sections of society; the implications of retrofitting for health and how to measure health impacts; and the division of responsibilities between national and local scales for management of such a complex policy area.