Energy & Utility Skills The Sector Skills Council for the electricity, gas, waste management and water industries.

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1 Energy & Utility Skills The Sector Skills Council for the electricity, gas, waste management and water industries. Response to the Framework for the Development and Deployment of Renewables in Scotland Consultation On behalf of the Alliance of Sector Skills Council Prepared by: Name: James Brown Mobile: Date: 1 December 2008 Page 1 of 8

2 Contents Energy & Utility Skills 1. Introduction Consultation Response Conclusion Further Information... 8 Page 2 of 8

3 1. Introduction Energy & Utility Skills is the Sector Skills Council for the electricity, gas, waste management and water industries and, therefore, inherent within the footprint is a substantial portion of the Renewables sector. Employer-led, our purpose is to identify employers skills needs and provide effective solutions to improve business performance across the UK. EU Skills have brought together a number of SSCs and a sector body, Asset Skills, Construction Skills, Cogent, Lantra, SEMTA, SummitSkills, and ECITB to discuss the potential for collaboration on addressing Renewables skills issues in Scotland. Across the UK we have agreed a shared commitment to create a skills strategy to support the Renewables agenda and will develop an action plan to achieve this and present it to Government, as a follow up to this submission. Our action plan will aim to: 1. Produce an analysis of skills required, building on existing research from Sector Skills Agreements; 2. Map this to skills provision and training capacity to meet these needs; 3. Develop skills solutions to address any gaps identified, building on work already in place in each region and nation of the UK. We welcome the opportunity to respond to the Framework for the Development and Deployment of Renewables in Scotland. We have a well established, and comprehensive, network of employers, who are engaged through regular contact by our national and regional Skills Directors and industry leads. We also have well established high level employer strategy groups for each of the four industries in our footprint. This response has been compiled using feedback from our employer networks and comments have also been invited via our website. From a skills perspective, renewable energy is a fragmented sector. In addition, there are a multitude of bodies and partnerships working to address the renewables challenges. UK Government, Scottish Government and the Assemblies in Wales and Northern Ireland, 7 SSCs and 1 sector body, 9 RDAs and others are all trying to tackle the issue which creates gaps and possible overlaps, especially as, for many, renewables is not mainstream. Energy and Utility Skills will continue to coordinate a joint sector skills approach to renewable energy but, there does need to be better co-ordination of effort, with dedicated resources and funding to address the issues more effectively. Due to the complexity of the issues, a strong lead from Government will be necessary to catalyse a coordinated programme. Detailed responses to the specific questions are contained below. Page 3 of 8

4 2. Consultation Response Energy Efficiency Do consultees agree that we should aim at 20% to meet the 2020 target and that progress should be made in all three sectors of electricity, heat and transport? If not why not? We agree that the aim should be 20% in order to meet the 2020 target but consideration should be given regarding how we achieve these targets and what interventions are required to support this. Critical to delivering the 2020 renewable energy targets will be getting the right skills, in the right places, at the right time and in the right quantities. For the Sector Skills Councils and sector bodies that have in interest in the renewable agenda, there are some complex challenges. Perhaps the most important is the uncertainty around the future demand for skills, especially for those emerging technologies yet to complete their development. The production of competent, skilled workers typically takes 5-10 years from leaving school but it is not possible to estimate the demand for specific skills, or even what the skills requirements for emerging technologies will be, so far ahead with any certainty. Recognising this uncertainty, we need to ensure Scotland has the appropriate number of skilled people with transferable skills, to provide the flexibility to accommodate the skills needs of emerging renewable technologies. With regard to the three technologies we feel it is correct that each area should be addressed however the targets for each may need to be reconsidered. If, for instance, the Transport target is revised then consideration must be given to the knock on effect on electricity and heat at an early stage. Renewable Electricity Are the expectations for each technology reasonable? It would appear that the electricity target is reasonable from the evidence presented but there are reservations regarding the heat and transport targets. If the heat target is to be reached early intervention will be required to ensure the skills requirements of the workforce are in place and a review of the current BRE MCS resolved in the near future. With regard to the Transport target early work will be required to inform future targets for the other technologies. Have the main constraints to development been identified? The main constraints have been identified but there needs to be an increased emphasis placed on developing the skills base. There is already a requirement for 9000 electrical engineers in the power sector across the UK by 2014 and large numbers of electricians, plumbers heating, ventilating, and air conditioning operatives will require upskilling in micro renewable technologies if targets are to be reached. This upskilling of the existing workforce presents a real barrier due to the availability of suitable training and the cost of the training. Financial support for employers would allow planned investment in the right skills to support the targets. This incentive would allow employers to plan their skills development in the early stages when renewables may not yet be perceived to be a viable business option. Another aspect that is proving a barrier to employers investing in Renewables is the MCS and work is currently being undertaken by an industry group led by SummitSkills on behalf of the SSCs to develop a proposal for an alternative approach to be considered for Scotland. Page 4 of 8

5 Renewable Heat Do consultees agree that we should work towards a target of 11% for renewable heat? SSCs feet that that achievement of this target is questionable given the current uptake of the MCS scheme by employers in Scotland and the lack of coordinated training provision to provide the upskilling opportunities for the existing workforce to meet the required installation figures in the short term. In the medium term SSCs are introducing renewable technologies into electrical, heating and ventilation plumbing and gas qualifications to ensure these are mainstream in the future. However action is urgent if we are to meet the heat target and early interventions are required to address the skills issues immediately. What more could we or other parties so to encourage renewable heat deployment specifically with regard to: air quality, awareness raising, planning, other areas? Communication strategy, grants, investment in skills, improved planning processes and decision making and simplification of MCS. Do consultees agree that renewable heat should be promoted through a regulatory incentive mechanism? Do consultees consider that there are Scotland specific issues in the choice between a RHI and RHO? It will be important to incentivise renewable heat and there is a need to move away from grants in the medium to long term. The RHO would be the preferred option as mechanisms already exist to support this and this would require less investment and communication required to establish a scheme for heat. Distributed Energy and Community Based Schemes How can distributed energy systems be promoted in Scotland? Early wins would be via the social housing schemes and commercial developments. Do you agree with the Scottish Government s proposed measures for maximising community benefit from renewables, including the production of guidance and the development of an improved grants scheme? Yes What role can social landlords play in developing local renewable energy schemes and what is the best way of supporting and enabling this? As noted above social landlords could play a significant role in supporting these schemes. This would need to be well planned, incentivised and a built in as a contractual requirement. Page 5 of 8

6 Bio-energy Do consultees agree that there is significant potential for developing bioenergy through wood and recyclable waste We would agree that there is significant potential for developing bioenegrgy however it is clear that additional skilled resources will be required to facilitate sustainable biomass growth. The time lag inherent in developing new skills capacity needs to be considered with the objective of providing early visibility of requirements and helping the supply chain to adapt smoothly and develop resources in a timely manner. Is there anything more that can be done to encourage next generation bioenergy, including marine biomass? Although this is at an early stage consideration should be given to the skills requirements and additional training needs these new activities will create. Addressing issues highlighted earlier in this response and the planned actions are required to realise the business and employment brought by these technologies. Sustainable Transport How can we best incentivise renewable and low carbon transport in a sustainable and cost effective way in Scotland? What potential is there for the introduction of vehicles powered through the electricity grid in Scotland? What impact would the widespread introduction of these kinds of vehicles have on: o o o Energy demand and carbon emissions Providing distributed storage capacity Smoothing levels of electricity demand on the grid? Over what timescales do you think electric vehicles could contribute to our renewable energy and carbon reduction targets and what could the Scottish Government do to accelerate the introduction of these vehicles in Scotland in a cost effective way? 10. Consents and Planning How can developers be encouraged to work closely with planning authorities and local communities to improve the quality of applications? Much is already being achieved by the SPP6 but better communication with community at an early stage would ease planning issues. There are obvious skills issues stemming from any changes to the planning system which will need to be considered. Upskilling the existing workforce and considering future capacity will be necessary for the planning system to deal with the number of planning issues that renewables will bring. Can more we done to develop joint working between central Government, planning authorities and statutory and non statutory consultees in pursuit of the Government s ambitions on renewable energy? The Alliance of Sector Skills Councils is keen to support Government and other stakeholders to identify skills issues and develop skills solutions. Given the growing number of issues connected with aviation and radar and wind farm development, especially in Southern Scotland, is there scope for cooperation between developers and aviation interests to promote a regional solution to complement the overall UK approach? Page 6 of 8

7 Research, development and demonstration How can we promote a strategic approach to research and development of renewable energy so that Scotland capitalises on its current strengths and becomes a European and world leader? From an economic development perspective the Scottish Government must take a lead to develop a strategy for Scotland within the UK, Europe and the World. There is already a great deal of good work underway and it will be critical to join up the thinking between the various groups including FREDS, the SFC s Renewables energy skills core group, the SSC Renewables Alliance and Scottish Renewables. Many of these are already joining up but it will be critical to formally recognise the roles of each group and for clear communication channels to be established between the groups. How can we make sure that partnerships with European and world bodies act to promote Scottish and wider interests in this area? Supply chain and skills How can Scottish industry seize the opportunities this renewed commitment to renewable energy at Scottish, UK and European level brings to develop a large and prosperous renewable energy sector making a significant contribution to sustainable economic growth in Scotland and providing a wide range of skilled jobs? There is a real need to develop a flexible skills base in the short term with the transferable skills that will support future developments. Additional to this is the requirement to address the skills issues of the existing workforce. Top support this a coordinated approach toward the provision of training will be required and it is hoped that the SFC s renewables energy skills core group will drive this agenda forward. There is a requirement to incentivise investment in renewables training and significant investment in skills is required at an early stage to ensure companies are prepared for the scale of activities required to meet these challenging targets. It is hoped that Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise will be able to support employers with funding for both upskilling activities and national programmes. Consideration could be given to selective government assistance to encourage companies to set up renewables manufacturing facilities in Scotland. What can be done in the short term to promote more effective collaboration in local sourcing and procurement? From a skills perspective a joined up approach across all provision is required to ensure appropriate, viable interventions are implemented and it is expected that the SFC s Renewables energy skills core group, working with its members will facilitate this. Page 7 of 8

8 3. Conclusion The SSC s Renewables Alliance welcomes the opportunity to respond to this consultation. We hope that the comments made in this response will help the Scottish Government in the proposed reforms. 4. Further Information Further information can be found on our website or ; Page 8 of 8

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