I thought that it would be timely to reflect on AREG’s hopes for the next government in terms of reducing emissions to help meet net zero goals. Championing the supply chain for almost 20 years, our ambition is for the north east to be a world-leading centre of excellence for the production and use of renewable energy.
Over the last year, we have seen commitment and progress with the publishing of the hydrogen policy statement and the updated climate change plan (2018–2032) in December.
In the year when the COP26 conference comes to Glasgow, we are calling on the next government to ensure that developing Scotland’s low carbon energy future is a priority. This will be essential in building resilience and driving the economic recovery from Covid-19, as well as enabling net zero to benefit many generations to come as part of the ‘green industrial revolution’.
In March, it was encouraging to see further progress at a UK-level with the Budget announcement of £27 million for the Aberdeen Energy Transition Zone. Projects like these are significant in recognising the economic potential of our region, creating a roadmap to meet net zero targets as we aim to achieve a just energy transition for all.
The North East of Scotland is already home to over £5 billion of low carbon infrastructure projects, with exciting work being carried out as part of the Aberdeen Hydrogen Hub, the Acorn carbon capture and storage and hydrogen project and the city combined heat and power network.
AREG members are making some of the biggest impacts in this transition to net zero through ground-breaking installations and technologies, such as Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre and Equinor’s Hywind Scotland floating offshore wind farm. AREG is also involved in the European Leaders of Blue Energies (ELBE) project, which brings together the efforts and interests of SMEs from six European regions in offshore wind, wave and tidal technologies.
It is time for positive transformation and with sufficient governmental support, renewable and low carbon energy can create and preserve jobs, helping to support the future sustainability of the region’s economy and make a significant contribution to our net zero targets.
We will continue our strong working relationship and engage with the next Scottish Government to highlight these important projects and connect our members with the major green economic opportunities for the North East.
I have high hopes for Scotland’s energy sector over the next five years and beyond.
Jean Morrison, Chair of AREG