Energy crisis shows 'clear imperative' to shift away from oil and gas

Nicola Sturgeon’s comments coincide with the publication of the Scottish Government’s draft energy strategy 

Energy crisis shows ‘clear imperative’ to shift away from oil and gas, Nicola Sturgeon says iStock

The energy crisis has highlighted a “clear imperative” to accelerate the transition to net zero and reduce Scotland’s dependence on oil and gas, the First Minister has said.

Nicola Sturgeon’s comments coincide with the publication of the Scottish Government’s draft energy strategy 

The plan will set out policies on domestic energy production and a plan to reduce demand and decarbonise the sector.

A just transition plan providing a route map of actions on how the Scottish and UK Governments can meet key targets up to 2030 will also be published on Tuesday and is central to Scotland’s climate change targets as well as a drive to boost jobs and improving wellbeing.

Sturgeon said the soaring cost of energy that households and businesses across the UK are currently grappling with demonstrates the need to move away from the reliance on oil and gas.

Speaking ahead of a visit to energy technology research and test site PNDC in Cumbernauld, she said: “The imperative is clear. In this decade, we must set Scotland on the path to an energy system that meets the challenges of becoming a net-zero nation by 2045, that supplies safe, secure and affordable energy for all and that generates economic opportunity through a just transition.

“The current energy crisis has demonstrated how vulnerable our energy system is to international price shocks, while laying bare the need for structural reform to ensure affordability for consumers.

“This strategy will shape the next 25 years of energy production in Scotland. It provides an independent assessment of the future of the North Sea and shows that as we reduce Scotland’s dependence on oil and gas – both as generators and consumers – there is a huge environmental and economic opportunity to be seized.

“Scotland is already at the forefront of the clean energy transition and our green jobs revolution is underway.

“By continuing to make the most of our vast renewable energy resource, we can deliver a new, zero energy system that also delivers a net gain in jobs within Scotland’s energy production sector.”

Michael Matheson, Net Zero, Energy and Transport Secretary will also give a statement to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

Fabrice Leveque, Climate and Energy Policy Manager at WWF Scotland, added: “In recent years, Scotland has made great progress in cleaning up its electricity generation; it’s now time to put the same effort into moving away from using fossil fuels to heat our homes and transport us around.

“We can’t afford to rely on volatile and polluting fossil fuels anymore. It’s vital that this new energy strategy sets out how Scotland can make the most of its abundant renewable resources, cut carbon, create jobs and help tackle the cost of living in a fair way.

“In particular, clarity is needed on how the power sector can support electrification of heat and transport and what plans are for decarbonising heavy industry.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s head of campaigns Mary Church said: “The new energy strategy must chart a just and clear path away from our broken fossil fuel energy system that is hurting people and the planet, and transition Scotland to a climate-safe future with clean, affordable renewable energy for all.

“This is a crucial decade for action on the climate crisis so Ministers must ensure that the plan sets an end date for fossil fuels and commits to phasing out oil and gas.

“Through a mass rollout of home insulation and boosting public transport we can reduce our overall demand for energy, improve people’s lives and help tackle the cost of living crisis.”