Low carbon economy strategy


A plan to create new green jobs and capture the opportunities of the low carbon economy is published today.

It is estimated around 60,000 new Scottish green jobs could be created by 2020 and the Low Carbon Economic Strategy crystallises the Scottish Government’s approach to utilise Scotland’s vast natural resources and competitive advantages to grow the economy and cut emissions.

The strategy will focus public sector support on low carbon industries and forge new private sector and international partnerships.  It comes on the same day as the Government is investing an extra £1 million into the Scottish Green Bus Fund. Actions in the Strategy, which has been produced with business and the wider public sector, include:

* Co-ordinated support for businesses and academia in the Environmental and Clean Technologies sector, to maximise opportunities in a market potentially worth £12 billion to Scotland’s economy
* Channelling innovation support to low carbon technologies where there is greatest chance of commercial success – the Scottish Government will reprioritise £15 million of innovation funding from the Lowlands and Uplands European Structural Funds Programme, which, along with match-funding from the private sector and other public sector funders, could create £60 million of support for low carbon activity
* Supporting the planning, design and construction of new infrastructure and the retrofit of existing facilities to support low carbon activity, such as renewable energy and electric vehicle infrastructure
* Supporting skills development through the Low Carbon Skills Fund and working with partners and employers to predict and respond to future skills demands
* Holding an annual Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference, with next year’s focus being investment for resource and energy efficiency

Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth John Swinney said:

“Moving to a low carbon economy is an economic and environmental imperative – it is Scotland’s biggest opportunity this century. Scotland can become a leader in the global low carbon market, and reduce our impact on the planet, if we seize new opportunities and capitalise on our vast comparative advantages.

“The move to a low carbon economy will see the development of low carbon goods, processes and services in rapidly expanding markets, alongside high levels of efficiency. We can grow the economy, generate wealth and create new green jobs and this strategy sets out how we will do that.

“The strategy sets out the global opportunities in low carbon goods and services and the role of government and the public sector in supporting business. Along with the wider public sector, we will provide the focus for all sectors to work together to build the right partnerships and strengthen business confidence, create new jobs and put the Scottish economy on a green, sustainable and secure footing.”

Lena Wilson, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise said: “The transition towards a low carbon economy presents major new and global opportunities for Scotland and it is vital that we have a clear strategy that will allow the public and private sectors to focus and work together to deliver the best return on investment.

“The establishment of the strategy further reinforces Scotland’s position as a leading nation in renewable energy and low carbon technologies and Scottish Enterprise is committed to supporting Scotland’s businesses to help them to diversify and seize new market opportunities ahead of the competition.”


Alex Paterson, HIE’s Chief Executive said: “HIE very much welcomes this strategy. It provides a clear message to businesses, communities and the public sector about the opportunities and benefits that a low carbon economy can genuinely offer. It is an important document for all of us as it highlights that low carbon isn’t just about energy. HIE is keen to ensure that we, together with our partners, play a key role in integrating low carbon into the everyday life of every business and community across our region.”

Ian Marchant, Convenor of Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group added: “The Low Carbon Economic Strategy is a welcome and clear sign to Scottish business of the importance of the low carbon economy. The strategy demonstrates the vast opportunities for business to build on and highlights how a transition to a low carbon economy is a way to accelerate economic recovery while tackling climate change. The Low Carbon Economic Strategy provides a framework for business and it will support and complement the work that our 20:20 Climate Group is taking forward in relation to moving to a low carbon Scotland.”

The scale of the economic opportunities for Scotland are vast:

* Scotland’s low carbon market was worth around £8.5 billion in 2007-08 (within a GDP of around £100 billion), and is forecast to rise to around £12 billion by 2015-16;
* Scotland is already an exporter of low carbon technologies, with £845 million worth of low carbon technologies exported in 2009-10
* Jobs in the low carbon sector in Scotland could grow by four per cent a year to 2020, rising from 70,000 to 130,000, over five per cent of the Scottish workforce
* Offshore wind alone could bring an estimated £30 billion of inward investment, and up to 20,000 jobs and Scotland already generates 22 per cent of its final electricity demand from renewables

There are low carbon opportunities right across the economy, for instance:

* Resource efficiency – (energy, water, waste, materials) and sustainable business practices
* Environmental and Clean Technologies – sustainable transport; building technologies; recovery, recycling and waste; water and waste water treatment; environmental management
* Forest industries – wood fuel and biomass for renewable heat and power, locally-sourced timber for construction
* Life sciences – sustainable health, telehealth and clean technologies
* Chemical sciences – renewable fuels, bio-based feedstocks
* Aerospace – lighter and more fuel-efficient materials/technologies
* Food and Drink – waste management and re-use, local sourcing, reducing carbon in supply
* Tourism – ‘green’ tourism products and services
* Financial services – green financial products and carbon trading
* ICT – data centres, energy management
* Agriculture – grow wider range of crops, produce new plant/ animal based products

The Low Carbon Economic Strategy is an integral part of the Government’s Economic Strategy to secure sustainable economic growth, and is a key component of the broader approach to meeting Scotland’s climate change targets. The strategy is closely linked to the forthcoming draft Report on Proposals and Policies, setting out actions to deliver emissions reductions to 2020 and beyond; the draft Public Engagement Strategy, explaining our approach to engaging people about what they can do to help Scotland take action on climate change; and the Energy Efficiency Action Plan, a programme of activity to improve energy efficiency in households, business and the public sector.

The Strategy has been developed with, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Transport Scotland, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Development International, Scottish Funding Council, Skills Development Scotland, VisitScotland and COSLA. The Strategy takes account of responses to the consultation ‘Towards a Low Carbon Economy a Strategy for Scotland’ launched in March 2010.