In September, Glasgow received international backing to host the COP26 climate summit in 2020. The event will be the United Nation’s 26th climate change conference and will bring together over 30,000 delegates from around the world, including climate experts, business leaders and citizens to agree ambitious action to tackle climate change.
Hosting COP26 will give Scotland a platform to maximise the opportunities of the global shift to clean energy and showcase to the world Scotland’s climate goals. It will be the country’s moment to build further support for a clean energy future, underscore ambitions for a net zero economy and set out the opportunity of economic renewal through climate action.
The Committee on Climate Change has a set of ambitious targets on carbon emissions that offer an unrivalled opportunity to place Scotland at the forefront of the global net zero race to decarbonise economies; capitalising on being the first mover on decarbonising our own energy sector, investing in technology and innovation to repeat this across other sectors such as transport, and exporting this capability worldwide. Hosting COP26 will be the perfect platform to show we are leading the way on decarbonisation of the economy.
We’re committed to helping the Government reach its net zero, climate change and sustainability targets. Our aim for hosting the COP26 event is to stimulate a great discussion on the policy, regulation and investment required to deliver this net zero ambition and the challenges we are facing to achieve a better future, quicker for us all.
Facilitating the UK’s transition to low carbon is not a new undertaking for us at SP Energy Networks though – this has been at the forefront of our strategy for some time as we have witnessed the changing energy landscape.
We are playing our part through ongoing investment in electricity infrastructure, trialling solutions for public electric vehicle charging, and working with our parent company, Scottish Power, on the provision of ground-breaking infrastructure to make Glasgow the UK’s first “net zero” city.
We’re proud to be a part of Scottish Power, who last year became the first integrated energy company in the UK to shift completely from coal and gas generation to wind power – becoming 100 per cent green.
We also established the Green Economy Fund (GEF) in 2018 to support Scottish projects that will ultimately help the Scottish Government reach its green targets, with a focus on those, which aim to boost local economic growth, improve air quality in our cities, and deliver a better future, quicker for our communities.
Much of the technology required to deliver on net zero targets already exists but it will require significant investment from the public and private sector to roll it out across Scotland. That’s why we’ve already committed £20million through the GEF to kick-start the country’s most innovative projects that will grow our green economy.
Last week, we hosted Scotland’s biggest ever debate on net zero carbon emissions as part of our Green Economy Fund engagement.
We brought together the country’s top energy experts, policymakers and influencers to discuss Scotland’s race to net zero carbon emissions, and the infrastructure, regulation and policy required to deliver on the Scottish Government’s ambitious green targets.
The event consisted of two panel discussions, with the first focusing on ‘rapid net zero with policy and investment’ - seeing experts from across Government, our regulator Ofgem, Green Economy Fund partners and colleagues from within SP Energy Networks and Scottish Power come together to discuss and debate what the country’s top priorities are.
Our first panel was about the big picture – what net zero looks like, the ambitions that our country has and the fundamental changes needed to get there.
Our second panel of the day looked at the logistics on the ground, as they discussed how we can ‘create zero carbon communities’ with speakers from the country’s most innovative green projects.
From the introduction of infrastructure for electric vehicles and low-carbon heating, to the education of a renewables workforce and establishing low emission zones, the debate explored how the country can achieve its goals and ensure that no community in Scotland is left behind.
Two weeks ago, we also launched ‘Zero Carbon Communities’ alongside Scottish Power – the first detailed roadmap to show how communities can play their part in reaching the UK’s net zero targets, as the country transitions to an electric future. In the coming months, we will reveal detailed plans for Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife and Dumfries & Galloway.
To succeed, it’s essential for the right infrastructure, investment, regulation and policy to be in place. We need policymakers and business leaders to invest in the technologies, training and implementation programmes to prepare now for the future.
With this in place, we will boost Scotland’s green economy and help our country get to net zero before anyone else.
Discussions like those we hosted last week are vital to delivering the zero carbon communities of tomorrow.