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SDC Scotland submission to the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee

29 October 2010

The Scottish Government's Energy Efficiency Action Plan brings a more strategic approach to Government action. Previously there have been good individual initiatives but these have not been brought together. Action on energy efficiency by Government has been characterised by too many separate schemes or initiatives not being sufficiently linked together.

»Download SDC Scotland's submission to the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee on the Energy Efficiency Action Plan 

Our headline points are as follows:

Governance and delivery:
We see that the Action Plan provides a much more strategic framework for tackling energy efficiency. However, we have concerns about the size of the resource within the Scottish Government for delivering energy efficiency. We support the overall target within the Plan but would like more detail on how this breaks down to different aspects and how the Scottish Government will report against this. We are also not clear about how the Action Plan will fit alongside the forthcoming Report on Proposals and Policies and the Low Carbon Economy Strategy.

Government needs to ensure consistency across these documents. These documents also need to provide more detail on some of the actions within the Action Plan, including information on timescale and means of delivery.

Investment:
We are glad to see that identifying new investment routes is highlighted by the Scottish Government but disappointed that further detail is not available in the Action Plan. This is something that the Government needs to act fast on, particularly given active discussions at a UK level on the role and focus of a Green Investment Bank. The Government’s Scottish Futures Trust also has an important role in looking at how funding vehicles can be developed to encourage investment in energy efficiency.

Economic development:
The Action Plan recognises the potential for energy efficiency to contribute to our economy, both through reducing costs, but also through the development of new products. However, there is little detail in the Plan about the likely scale of savings of new opportunities. This is in stark contrast to the well studied Scottish renewables market. Its potential numbers of jobs and market growth is well understood.

Behaviour change:
We are very pleased to see the Government adopting the “Four Es” model for looking at how to influence attitudes and behaviours. SDC Scotland sees this as the most well developed model for influencing climate change behaviours. We support the Government’s commitment to “develop and refine the four Es model.”

However we are concerned that the Government is shying away from the difficult actions it needs to take by saying ‘...we need to improve our understanding of people’s energy related attitudes and behaviours and how to influence them.’ Our view is that there is sufficient understanding of this, and the priority is action that properly incentivises changing behaviour.

Transport:
We are pleased to see that the Government includes transport efficiency within this Plan. As set out in Getting There our recent review of Scottish Government strategy and delivery, we see transport as being a critical area and one in which the situation in Scotland is not sustainable. Subsequent to publication of this report, the Scottish Government has decided not to update the existing Strategy. However, we see that the current Strategy is not delivery the required outcomes in transport, meaning it either needs to be updating, or the means of implementation needs to change.

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