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Scottish energy ready reckoner


Energy markets are not only vast, but can change very quickly and very dramatically. The Scottish Enterprise (SE) Energy Team therefore needs to be able to quickly spot and discriminate between market opportunities. The purpose of the Scottish Energy Ready Reckoner is to calculate simple, comprehensible and comparable numbers to inform one aspect of the energy debate: the benefits that the Scottish economy can derive from different energy markets and opportunities. It is designed to help direct economic development resources, typically skilled people and funding assistance provided by government, to address market failure. The focus of the reckoner is the next ten years.


The assumptions used in calculation are the result of discussion and desk research with a wide range of experts in the various energy industries and in their representative bodies, public servants concerned with energy and the economy, the work of other consultants and cogentsi’s own experience, models and calculations.


Current global trends in energy supply and consumption are patently unsustainable. Britain’s energy needs are currently met by four fuels, for all of which availability is declining, plus renewables, which make a very small contribution relative to the others. There is a decline in oil and gas, and nuclear power stations are coming to the end of their life and are retiring on grounds of safety and expense. Conventional underground coal mining is all but finished and coal reserves suitable for surface recovery are limited. The overall rate of decline for these four resources is more than 5 per cent per year. Nevertheless, there are still a number of opportunities for these industries and their markets: North Sea hydrocarbons; nuclear power decommissioning; coal power; renewables, including wind, hydro and marine energy; and biomass. Findings include: the benefits to Scotland from North Sea hydrocarbons are the costs of the activities to explore, develop and operate the resource; the decommissioning of nuclear power stations represent a business opportunity through and beyond 2025 in relation to site infrastructure, decommissioning and site reclamation, and waste handling and storage; the initial closure programme for coal power stations is being offset by various clean coal demonstration projects and public sector investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, along with regulations to prevent coal-fired power stations being built unless equipped with sufficient CCS, provides incentive for companies to design, test and implement CSS; Britain already has more offshore wind capacity than any other country, and more suitable waters, which makes it a very large renewable energy opportunity; and it is not considered economic in either cost or carbon terms to use biomass solely for electricity but encouraging the use of renewable heat could provide an opportunity for potential manufacturers, although there remains an issue with emissions from burning waste.


There were no recommendations as this was not within the remit of the report.

Author Cogent Strategies International Ltd
Published Year 2011
Report Type Research
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