MEETING THE CHALLENGE OF A NET-ZERO REVOLUTION

Published date30 August 2021
Publication titleBusiness Insider
What are the biggest opportunities for Scotland in moving to net zero?

Adam McVey: There is a huge opportunity in embracing this agenda as there has been with other energy revolutions that have happened in our history. This is a similar process, a shifttowards renewable heat and sustainable modes of transportation.

Transport is an economic issue as much as it is anything else and there's huge opportunities in these frontier industries where we're seeing high-skilled jobs coming through, right across our communities. It's not just creating an energy source that's somewhere else - in a wind-turbine farm in the Highlands or Perthshire or wherever - it's about the servicing jobs that are in that community. David Westwood: Scotland has incredible opportunities. It's about appreciating the resource we have and figuring out what technology you can stick in front of it to meet the local demand. By adopting energy systems thinking we can improve our energy system and help with the transition. It can be adopted at household level: what's the energy system of your house, what is the energy that's available to locally harvest to satisfy the demand of your home now and in the future? If you apply it at a national level, you can see we have some pretty fantastic resources.

Thinking of demand side management; we've been working on a civic centre in Stoke, helping to transition to a heat pump and found we could save 12 per cent on their energy bill by operating a heating

system like you do in Denmark. Richard Lockhart: From the micro to the macro- there are great opportunities - behaviour change will be the interesting bit. At Scottish Futures Trust, we are working across

the public sector, particularly in infrastructure investment. One of the opportunities I am seeing is a much less siloed approach. Net zero is a green thread which runs through everything and we're seeing that more in Scottish Government, public and private sector thinking. For every pound there has to be a green tinge on it. There has to be a focus on net zero with clear outcomes. Gayle Barclay: Working in the sphere of aviation, which knows it has a great deal to do, the move to net zero presents many opportunities. GHG/ CO2 emissions come from so many sources that achieving net zero will be a huge shiftto a more sustainable society that brings numerous environmental, economic and social benefits and opportunities. I agree with Richard here, achieving net zero will require partnership and collaboration to deliver innovative solutions and sharing of best practice. Robert Etherson: The key opportunity is in our kids. The percentage of the adult population - less than 40 per cent - that do care about the environment, there's the others who don't understand and the others that don't care. I see it more and more in

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PANEL MEMBERS Ken Symon Ex-editor, Scottish Business Insider Craig Whelton Partner, Burges Salmon

Sophie Black Senior associate, Burges Salmon Adam McVey Leader, Edinburgh City Council David Westwood Chief operating officer, Nomad Energy Gayle Barclay Environmental manager, Edinburgh Airport Richard Lockhart Senior Associate Director, Scottish Futures Trust Robert Etherson Founder/director, Energen Biogas Simon Steen Moeller Head of international affairs, ERG Spa Dan Jestico Director of futures, Iceni Projects

public procurement where they are looking at three, four, five years; well, I'm sorry but the same local authority building is going to be around long after I'm gone. All these are missed opportunities. If we are really going to stand a chance we have to go back to basics and hammer home to our kids the importance of net zero.

Simon Steen Moeller: Scotland has the best wind resources in the whole of Europe, and it also has land availability. In a lot of European countries - Italy, for example, where I'm based - it's very difficult to find the space for renewables.

It's also important to look at the opportunities that cheap green energy creates; it creates the opportunity to be connected, for example, with district heating. Coming from Copenhagen, I've...

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