Energy Action Scotland is supportive of UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 and the corresponding Scottish National Outcome on Environment, which is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy. Energy Action Scotland is not an environmental group and has been primarily focussed on the deleterious social effects of fuel poverty but as an organisation, we remain fully informed of the broader energy landscape, especially where it has the potential to affect fuel poor consumers. In the case of renewable energy, what potential does it have to offer sustainable energy at a lower cost to the consumer, in particular where low income households are struggling to get by in the rural economy of Scotland.
Since the Scottish Government declared a Climate Emergency with increasingly more focus on eradication of fossil fuels from the energy produced with challenging targets for decarbonisation, it is of particular importance to Energy Action Scotland that decarbonising energy supply and adopting modern energy sources does not impose a proportionately greater burden on the fuel poor in particular – the Just Transition question.
Energy Action Scotland accepts that there is a need for a diverse energy mix which improves resource resilience and reduces the likelihood of monopolistic or anti-competitive market practices which would result in increases in consumer bills. We still have a significant proportion of households reliant on fuel from an unregulated energy market to heat their homes, with approximately 18% of dwellings in Scotland estimated to be outside the coverage of the gas grid. Moving away from kerosene, LPG and solid fuels to networked electricity may achieve decarbonisation goals however, we must remain aware of the cost impact that the decarbonisation policies currently determining the activities of generators and network operators will have on the price of electricity and gas for the consumer.
Energy Action Scotland supports emerging schemes or generating sources such as Combined Heat and Power, District Heating, Solar PV, Solar Thermal and other sources that can contribute to making individual homes more cost effective to run in terms of energy and that also help to meet Scotland’s climate change targets as well as its fuel poverty targets, as long as there are no unintended consequences on the fuel poor.
EAS maintains its stance on reducing energy where possible through energy efficiency.