The Carbon Trust released a report last week calling for a joined-up energy strategy using smart technology in order to guarantee energy security, jobs and build expertise within Scotland.
The release of the report, Scotland’s innovation potential to realise a new integrated energy system, states that “Scotland has the potential to lead the world on 'smart' energy solutions, due to its combination of natural resources and technology innovation capabilities.”
This could be done by innovation, developing energy storage and district heating models and using smart meters as an opportunity to engage and encourage consumers to take control of energy usage and costs.
According to a statement by the Carbon Trust, “While Scotland is well on its way to meeting its electricity demand target, progress on heat and transport needs to accelerate significantly over the next five years in order to deliver on existing targets.
"This challenge is compounded further as heat and transport accounts for over 70% of total energy consumption in Scotland.
“The country needs to build on its success so far and evolve its energy strategy to take a holistic approach to energy infrastructure planning to bring offshore renewable generation technologies, bio-energy, district heating, energy storage, energy management and consumer engagement solutions together under one flexible and dynamic energy system.”
Andrew Lever, director of Innovation, at the Carbon Trust commented: “Scotland has come a long way in the journey towards meetings its ambitious carbon reduction targets and we believe Scotland has now reached an important juncture in this journey.
"By pulling all the strands of the energy strategy together the nation has a significant opportunity to optimise the use of Scotland’s abundant renewable energy resources and exploit its distinctive characteristics to not only meet the nation’s climate change targets, but generate significant economic value for Scotland in the long term."
The Carbon Trust's blueprint for smart energy
The Carbon Trust recommends the following course of action to ‘unlock’ Scotland’s integrated energy future:
- Further targeted innovation to drive down cost and develop the supply chain to realise Scotland’s renewable potential in offshore wind, wave, tidal and bio-energy.
- Innovation in energy storage, which is critical to facilitating further investment in wind and will be a key enabler in local decentralised energy systems.
- Further innovation in technology, business models and installation techniques to facilitate the uptake of district heating, with a focus on integrating renewable energy and thermal storage.
- Innovation in energy management software solutions for buildings, home and the transport sector, which will be critical to a dynamic, smart and efficient energy system.
- More innovative solutions to engage end consumers to make their energy usage and costs more tangible. The opportunity to innovate on the back of smart meter rollout is critical.
Nicholas Shenken, an expert in energy industry commercial contracts at Pinsent Masons, a law firm in the United Kingdom, says: "What we're talking about here is the need for the evolution of the 'smart city', and that's something we're advising on more and more as the public and private sectors begin to see the wide range of benefits available. Not only of a holistic approach to efficiencies in electricity, heat and transport, but also of the value – both social and financial – in the data which a 'smart' approach can produce."