Surging gas prices throws into “sharp relief” the need to ramp up Scottish offshore wind and hydrogen, the energy minister will say later.
Addressing the Scottish Renewables Offshore Wind Conference in Glasgow later, Michael Matheson is expected to set out the need for a “more consistent and stable form of energy supply”.
It comes as UK and European gas prices have surged to record highs as a consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which consultancy Rystad Energy said was “approaching the limits of affordability in Western Europe”.
He is expected to say: “I am acutely aware that, right now, families and households across Scotland are facing rising energy costs alongside high inflation.
“It is why we need a more consistent and stable form of energy supply. The current highly unpredictable nature of gas and oil prices add to the imperative to accelerate the development of alternative sources of energy.”
He is expected to highlight that Scotland is “unfairly penalised” due to transmission charging laws – which the UK Government has already been asked to urgently address as developers seek fair access to grid connections.
Mr Matheson will use his keynote speech to outline that “nearly 100%” of Scotland’s electricity demand comes from renewables sources, and the Scottish Government is focused on reducing broader energy demand and accelerating deployment of renewables.
He is also expected to discuss the “bright future” for the energy sector in Scotland, including a “revitalised North Sea” through offshore wind and a broader net zero energy system.
In January, Crown Estate Scotland announced awards for the ScotWind auction, resulting in a huge project pipeline of nearly 25 gigawatts.
He will say: “The recent outcome of the ScotWind leasing round was a tremendous vote of confidence in Scotland’s growing offshore renewables sector. The level of ambition shown by the market recognises the seriousness of Scotland’s commitment to achieving our net zero targets and sustainable economic growth.
“ScotWind is by far the world’s largest commercial round for floating offshore wind and breaks new ground in putting large-scale floating wind technology on the map at GW scale.”