Challenges Of Scotland’s Sustainable Energy Businesses 

17/11/2023

SUSTAINABLE energy is the future, and the Scottish government is committed to developing sustainable energy businesses that meet the country’s needs as well as reducing its carbon footprint. 

Scotland aims to have a 75% reduction in emissions by 2030, 90% by 2040, and net zero by 2050. Whilst this is an admirable goal, there are some challenges that need addressing for it to be the perfect plan. 

Decarbonising heat and transport

Heating and transport are two of the most challenging sectors to decarbonise as they rely on fossil fuels. As it stands, the Scottish government has made statements alluding to phasing out the need for installation of new or replacement fossil fuel boilers. This language is non-committal in terms of not using fossil fuels at all. 

When it comes to transport, the Scottish government does not have the powers needed to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars, so there is less incentive for consumers to go green to reduce carbon emissions. 

Investing in renewable energy

Scotland has a varied landscape, and there can be issues with rural areas getting power, let alone green energy. Investment needs to be made into the infrastructure of the grid itself, to ensure that all residents have adequate power. Furthermore, renewable energy sources are not able to be connected to the grid due to overloading or being on the waiting list. 

Education is also an area that needs investment. With new infrastructure comes new jobs and technology. As the systems are developed, there will need to be education for people to fulfil roles in maintenance and installation. 

Supporting the oil and gas industry

One of the great things about the oil and gas industry is that they are a huge employer across Scotland with around 196,000 jobs. Unfortunately, it is also a major source of harmful emissions. Although the transition to net zero emissions is needed, it is not a simple process. 

Finding an economic way to achieve net zero by 2050 is needed. One way to do this is to increase the energy efficiency of the plants. Another is to focus on electrification where you replace components that use fossil fuels to electric where possible. If this isn’t possible then companies should aim to store or capture the emissions to prevent them from being released. 

Limited guidance on auditing sustainability performance

As sustainable energy sources are relatively new, the guidance on how to audit their performance is limited. This makes it difficult to assess whether a sustainable energy business is meeting its environmental, social and governance commitments.

Once the guidance has become clear, you may want to employ an external company to conduct a business audit. This ensures that your business is up to standard and that there are no surprises when an official audit is conducted. 

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