The Scottish Government’s draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan emphasises the importance of local and community energy projects for supporting Scotland’s net zero and just transition ambitions.

This study examines how those projects can help deliver against these ambitions within devolved powers. The research explored developments in local and community energy and assessed key innovations, opportunities and barriers, and how to leverage those projects to support Scotland’s National Just Transition Outcomes (NJTOs).

The report contains:

  • Six overarching recommendations to help increase the contribution of the local and community energy sectors to Scotland’s Just Transition.
  • A set of 19 evidence-based actions to increase local and community energy as the Scottish Government develops the final version of its flagship Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan.

Summary findings

  • Local and community energy can directly contribute to all eight of Scotland’s National Just Transition Outcomes.
  • There are key barriers to delivering against these outcomes across sectors:
    • limited resources to build capacity for local and community energy projects in underserved areas
    • challenges around skills and project delivery processes particularly within local authorities
    • justice and equity issues within projects themselves
    • lack of appropriate finance and business models

Further details on the findings can be found in the report attached.

The purchase of goods, services and works can account for more than 70% of a public body’s overall greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland. These are referred to as indirect scope 3 emissions. Targeting these could result in significant emissions reduction across public bodies.

However, there are many challenges for public bodies in measuring, comparing and reporting these emissions. The goal of this research was to provide evidence for practical approaches and tools that public bodies can use to better understand and thereby reduce their indirect scope 3 emissions.

Methods included interviews and surveys with 72 public bodies and 67 suppliers, review of 75 relevant supply chain emission and related methodologies and tools.

Summary of findings

  • Spend-based methodologies, which estimate emissions based on the financial value of goods and services, are the most commonly used. These can be useful to identify the areas of spend on procurement that produce the most estimated emissions. However, they only focus on lowering spend, rather than on reducing emissions, and do not provide sufficient detail on emissions throughout the supply chain. They are of limited use in that they can be used to identify emission hotspots but are not suitable for trends. They can also deter a ‘spend to save’ approach and perversely favour procurement of cheaper, less environmentally friendly options.
  • Public bodies rely on spend-based methodologies due to limited availability of supply chain emissions data, and lacking time or resources to implement more sophisticated models.
  • Public bodies are increasingly seeking emissions data from suppliers to help with more detailed understanding of emissions.
  • Tools such as analytical tools and software improve data accuracy and detail, and may allow public bodies to integrate supplier data, where available.
  • Tools used range from free to very costly. Some public bodies may seek to offset the cost by using the data to identify cost savings, which may also result in emissions reduction.
  • A better understanding of supply chain emission methodologies and tools, and their limitations would be beneficial to some public bodies.
  • There is varying confidence in applying relevant climate requirements within contracts, with some uncertainty regarding relevant clauses and limited use of climate related supplier selection requirements.
  • Challenges faced by suppliers include how to assess and reduce their emissions, and public body requirements, which may include reporting of their emissions into multiple portals or systems.

For a full list of findings and further details please read the report.

If you require the report in an alternative format such as a Word document, please contact or 0131 651 4783.

Scotland is part of the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS), the United Kingdom’s carbon emissions trading scheme. The scheme places an overall limit on emissions from large industrial sites and airlines, and facilitates the trading of emissions allowances within this limit.

The Scottish Government would like to understand how emissions from sites subject to the UK ETS are likely to evolve over the transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions and the implications of steadily reducing the number of permits in the emissions trading scheme.

This study introduced a UK ETS accounting mechanism to the Scottish TIMES model, which is a diagnostic tool to help understand the key inter-relationships across the energy system. This will enable the Scottish Government to investigate these questions.

The Scottish TIMES model is being used by the Government to produce a new net zero pathway for Scotland to support its new Climate Change Plan.

Scottish TIMES does not distinguish between ETS and non-ETS emissions. By adding this capability, ETS emissions can be constrained separately to the overall Scottish emissions target.

The proportion of emissions subject to ETS was estimated for each sub-sector of Scottish TIMES and used to calculate ETS emissions in the model. A flexible mechanism was created to try to enable future changes to the UK ETS to be easily implemented. We created example scenarios with emission constraints and taxes for ETS emissions. A series of tests demonstrated that the model was working correctly.

For further information, please download the report.

If you require the report in an alternative format such as a Word document, please contact or 0131 651 4783.

The Scottish and global net zero transition presents substantial economic opportunities for Scotland. For the Scottish Government to successfully design net zero and economic policy, it must clearly assess and understand relative economic strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of Scotland’s net zero and climate adaptation economy.

However, the existing data have many gaps, and policymakers often lack the necessary frameworks to make analytically informed decisions on the priorities for economic intervention and just transition policy design.

This report provides baseline data and assessment of the economic potential of the onshore wind, offshore wind, and hydrogen sectors using a novel methodology. It breaks down and measures these sectors into distinct economic value chain activities such as project development, manufacturing, installation, operation and maintenance, specialised consultancy services and end-of-life. The methodology is applicable to other sectors.

Summary of findings

  • The research identified that the onshore and offshore wind sectors share many strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. For example, the vast majority of turnover in both sectors comes from installation, operation and maintenance activities.
  • Differences in these value chain stages between the sectors arise largely due to differences in their maturity in Scotland – the higher levels of installed onshore wind capacity results in increased turnover from operation and maintenance, while for the rapidly growing offshore wind sector, installation represents the highest share of turnover.
  • Manufacturing is another point of contrast between the sectors; potentially related to the wider array of components available for manufacture, offshore wind provides a much larger share of manufacturing turnover.
  • The outlook for the hydrogen sector is relatively uncertain due its immature and unproven nature, and current debate regarding possible future uses.
  • The outlook for the onshore and offshore wind sectors is more certain since they are already established and commercially viable global markets. These sectors have good prospects for strong growth in Scotland, with the biggest economic growth expected in offshore wind, driven by strong domestic and international demand and the need to increase installed capacity.

Further details on the findings can be found in the report attached.

If you require the report in an alternative format such as a Word document, please contact or 0131 651 4783.

To meet Scotland’s net zero commitment by 2045, all of the country’s 230,000 non-domestic buildings must reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions. Non-domestic buildings comprise a wide range of building types such as business premises, factories, public buildings and facilities.

There are many challenges involved in decarbonising the sector, including limited information on how energy is used, and considerable variation in what fuels are used and how.

Any guidance, support or regulation should be sensitive to the variety of needs across non-domestic buildings.

The aim of this research was to identify and assess relevant options for a practical method to apportion measured direct emissions from heat use categories for the purposes of regulating direct emissions at a building level.

The research involved a literature review and stakeholder engagement.  

Summary of findings

The research found that a categorisation system based on fuel type would provide a practical and feasible foundation for developing and implementing decarbonisation regulations that are enforceable at an individual building level.

Systems of this type are already in use by regulatory authorities, voluntary reporting standards, and building and estate operators. However, it is unclear if a categorisation based on fuel type alone can provide sufficient information to identify decarbonisation pathways for individual buildings. This is because fuel type does not provide an indication of the type and energy intensity of activity.

For further information, please download the report.

If you require the report in an alternative format such as a Word document, please contact or 0131 651 4783.

The use of hydrogen as an energy carrier is one of the emerging technologies that is expected to support the reduction in emissions in sectors traditionally reliant on fossil fuels. In 2022, through the Hydrogen Action Plan, Scotland announced its ambition to become a leading producer and exporter of hydrogen, particularly green hydrogen, which is produced using electricity from renewable sources.

The aim of this study was to provide a comprehensive understanding of the current and forecasted jobs and skills demands in the hydrogen economy as assuming it meets the ambitions defined by the Hydrogen Action Plan.

Key objectives of the research were to define the scope of the sector and the scale of the opportunity for Scotland as a result of growth in the hydrogen economy; assess current and future skills demand within the sector; and identify key skills requirements and issues.

The study focuses on skills requirements for the upstream part of the supply chain, which includes hydrogen production facility installation, commissioning and operations, as well as storage, transportation and export. Sectors that would use the hydrogen were excluded from this study. Methods included literature and online reviews, and stakeholder interviews across the industry, skills providers and other relevant organisations.

Summary of findings
  • Hydrogen has potential to be a valuable part of the Scottish economy. The upstream hydrogen economy will have an estimated cumulative turnover of £7.6bn by 2030 and £22.9bn between 2031 and 2035. This translates to cumulative gross value added figures of £3.9bn over the period to 2030 and £11.9bn from 2030 to 2035.
  • A large number of new jobs will be created in the hydrogen economy as it grows. Direct annual employment will be, on average, 6614 full-time equivalent over the 2025-2030 period and an average of 18,535 in 2030-2035.
  • The skills to enable the hydrogen economy are not fundamentally different from the skills required in other process industries, according to stakeholders predictions. The demand for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, digital and data science skills will be high across the energy sector as a whole, as well as other related sectors. The majority of the skills required will be at college and graduate levels. This highlights that a talent shortage is a key concern for the hydrogen economy.
  • A skilled and experienced technical workforce will be required in different areas of Scotland, including rural and remote areas such as the islands. Larger hydrogen hubs could be located closer to the key export sites and end users, such as cities (Aberdeen) or energy-intensive process sites (Grangemouth). Stakeholders agree that steps should be taken to ensure the early pilot projects in the rural and remote regions are adequately supplied with technical talent because these sites provide crucial learning experiences for the rest of the future hydrogen economy. The geographical location of skilled workers and skills provision will be a lesser concern when hydrogen production scales up because, in stakeholder experience from the oil and gas sector, the skilled workforce is mobile.

For further information on the findings and a list of recommendations, please read the report attached.

Scottish TIMES is a whole system energy model of Scotland. It models all key areas of the energy system, from generation, transportation and end use, and all key sectors of the economy. It is used by the Scottish Government as an analytical tool to support the development of climate change and energy-related policies and plans.

The industrial sector is a key sector within TIMES as many of its outputs are used by other modelled sectors and are therefore inherently linked. Inaccuracies in the industrial sector data could potentially have large implications for the rest of the model, under- or over-estimating costs and emissions.  

The aim of this project was to update and improve the current assumptions in Scottish TIMES relating to the industrial sector. The project reviewed and updated key data related to variables such as cost and process efficiency and checked them against the latest sector, industry, or academic research to ensure they are up to date and that they provide an accurate representation of the technologies and processes within the sector.

This, therefore, provides an accurate set of data on how much each sector contributes to Scottish greenhouse gas emissions, having reviewed the following sectors: carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS), hydrogen, biofuels, petroleum refining, chemicals, cement, food and drink, iron and steel, paper products, non-ferrous metals, non-metallic minerals and other industries.

The review has led to updating of a range of parameters such as capital and operating cost, process efficiency, expected operational life and technology availability date for the industrial processes across sectors where such data was available. This included data for new and emerging technologies such as CCUS and hydrogen, along with traditional industrial sectors such as oil refining and chemicals. As TIMES is a cost optimised model that selects the lowest cost technology option, updating these parameters could have significant implications on which technologies are selected and how they are operated under different decarbonisation scenarios.

The review also identified several new processes for inclusion, such as hydrogen above ground storage, and recommended the removal of others such as hydrogen salt cavern storage, as these are not available in Scotland. The review updated data for industrial processes that are common across a range of sectors, such as motor drive, low and high temperature heating, drying and refrigeration.  

Zero-emission buses, particularly battery electric buses, will soon become standard for the vast majority of new mainstream local buses operating in Scotland. This will contribute to Scotland’s ambitious climate target of net zero by 2045.

This study explored how a move to battery electric buses (BEB) might impact the second-hand bus market, new buses, big and small operators in Scotland. It also discussed different ways of managing the transition with government and stakeholders.

The current market

The study found that the current market displays the following features:

  • The sale of new buses in the UK and Ireland has been in decline for over a decade. This means that even without the introduction of BEBs, the structure of the second-hand market will change due to reduced supply and increased prices.
  • Small local bus operators are just as likely to invest in new buses as large bus operators.
  • Buses transition from routes that make more money to routes that make less money over their lifetime. The definition of high-earning route is different for different sizes of bus operator.

Challenges and solutions in the new bus market

We found that the main challenges for introducing BEBs in the new bus market are limitations in driving range, the high cost of these buses and uncertainty around the lifetime of batteries.

To overcome these challenges, we think operators of new buses could take the following steps:

  • Delay investment until buses with bigger battery size are available.
  • Use buses with smaller battery sizes but rely on opportunity charging.
  • Put new BEB only on shorter and/or less frequent routes that are compatible.
  • Deploy hydrogen fuel cell electric buses (out of scope for this study).
  • Consider new business models where batteries are leased to bus operators.

Implications for the future second-hand bus market

No one strategy will be effective for everyone and a mix of the above approaches is likely. These approaches affect the second-hand bus market in the following ways:

  • Decreased supply of second-hand buses as new bus investment is delayed
  • A trend towards buses with very large batteries, which are over specified for the needs of many second-hand bus operations and are therefore more expensive than necessary
  • Reliance on opportunity charging, which might only be feasible where many bus routes come together; this may leave long-distance interurban routes without an immediate battery bus solution
  • Leased battery models could reduce bus lifetime or increase bus costs in later life

Reducing carbon emissions from homes and buildings is one of Scotland’s priorities towards meeting climate change targets. This report aims to provide policy makers with an understanding of the purpose, structure and use of Green Building Passports (GBPs), along with the main barriers and opportunities when considering their possible introduction in Scotland.

For the purposes of this report, GBPs, also referred to as Building Renovation Passports/Plans (BRPs), comprise: comprehensive building information (logbook); bespoke and staged renovation guidance (renovation plan/roadmap); and, key supporting information for energy efficiency improvement (such as available loans/subsidies).

Main findings
  • It is possible to draw on research, development and implementation experience of a variety of schemes in the UK, Europe and internationally to understand more about what Green Building Passports (GBPs) are, and what they can offer. Information available relates to developing frameworks for unified approaches; delivery of pilot projects; management of mandatory and voluntary government-led digital platforms; and delivery of government-supported, industry-led ‘one-stop-shop’ models.
  • The introduction of GBPs is primarily driven by a need to provide property owners with high quality, comprehensive and user-friendly information on energy efficiency and appropriate renovation guidance.
  • For some properties, detailed renovation guidance will be needed; this is considered especially important when improvements are likely to require a transition from relatively simple energy efficiency measures to requiring more complex measures.
  • Building Renovation Passports/Plans (BRPs) have not yet reached maturity and many challenges have been encountered with implementation. There are complexities with integrating data from various sources that could potentially take significant time and resource to overcome.
  • All stakeholders highlighted that clear distinction is needed between who owns and who should have access to building data (i.e. personal data vs property data). UK stakeholders have published recommendations for data governance good practice. Suitable pathways for data to be shared or made publicly available are also still being investigated in various initiatives.