Theme Session Outputs

The following synopsis and links to presentations provide a clear summary of the key points discussed, and outcomes given, at our Emporium event on 31st May 2017.

Decarbonising Heat Session

The Decarbonising Heat Session led to interesting discourse at the Energy Innovation Emporium. Many good points were made during the discussion and written feedback, but those below are the ones which cropped up repeatedly.


  • Significant scope for innovation lies in taking a whole-systems approach to decarbonising heat, i.e. linking in local heating and electricity grids incorporated with daily and seasonal storage (Drakes Landing Solar Community and Heerlen Mijnwater provide international inspiration for solutions to very different heating and cooling requirements).
  • Current Scottish building stock is inefficient and can be hard to upgrade, but presents huge potential to reduce heat demand if there were a concerted effort in this area (e.g. the Scottish Energy Efficiency Programme).
  • Existing world-class gas grid can be thought of as a future asset, as a vector for delivering decarbonised gas.
  • By better understanding demand we can then apply best low carbon solution, e.g. in some industrial processes heat is supplied using steam (on the surface heat pump delivery of this heat would be discounted) but some process temperatures are only needed to be 80⁰C or lower in which case low carbon solutions could be preferable.      


  • There will not be a level playing field until the emissions of mains natural gas is costed into price.
  • Cross-political party support for long term energy goals and transition vectors facilitates investment.
  • The future of the gas-grid may require a top-down decision, but current uncertainty could stifle low carbon transition now, as developers wait to see if they can access the decarbonised future gas grid.

This discussion has resulted in the wordclouds on the right, which draw out the key points from the day. You can also access presentations from the day from Industry, Academia and Scottish Enterprise.

Transport Session

John Nelson and Kathryn Logan
Centre for Transport Research, University of Aberdeen

The Transport Session investigated passenger transport, vehicle engine technologies, how to lower emissions, making a modal shift and how to replace non-renewable resources. Questions and overall conclusions are listed below, and more in-depth discussion notes can be found through the link on the right-hand panel.

• We need to promote joined-up and combined policy making (the Scottish National Transport Strategy is currently being reviewed here: John Nelson is a member of the Review and Evidence Group).
• New battery technology and efficiency to support EVs is required.
• Greater education is needed. How do we get the skills out there for individuals? Particularly in rural areas? Is repairing damaged or maintenance of EVs most important? What skills are necessary for intelligent mobility (e.g. as promoted by the Transport Systems Catapult)? This is integrated with computer science and other disciplines.
• How disruptive will new technology be for autonomous vehicles (AVs) and the current transport network? Is it integrated within the built environment? What different patterns of ownership are there?
• Reducing congestion vs energy usage - what wins? An example of problem areas include directing cars through roads which have extra capacity, reducing congestion etc.
• Online shopping has caused increased number of white vans on roads. How can we mitigate this?

 On the right, please find a fuller discussion of these outcomes and the presentation from the day.

Energy Efficiency Session

Speakers: Dr Eddie Owens & Dr Andrew Peacock (Heriot-Watt University)
Panel Members: Gordon Cowton (Fintry Development Trust) & Gregor McDonald (Scottish Enterprise)

In the Energy Efficiency Session the following was discussed:

  • In its current state, the Scottish Government’s Draft Energy Strategy does not place enough emphasis on energy efficiency measures. 
  • The Fintry Development Trust was successful in part because of its ability to employ a full time Energy Advisor who is located within the village. This has allowed the Trust to distinguish itself from other similar groups by helping local residents to navigate energy issues through a whole systems approach. 
  • Energy efficiency has different solutions for each person and each household. 
  • Energy efficiency measures should be more visual and tangible in order to have more impact and take up by users and communities; for example, infrared cameras which show heat losses and the need for potential measures to be implemented. The SEEP Consultation hasn’t addressed this point. 
  • A localised approach to building efficiency regulations should be taken to account for climate and building stock differences. 
  • Communication with users: take into account the differences in ‘comfort’ level through effective use of thermostats, smart technologies etc. 
  • Issues relating specifically to tenements should be examined and addressed.
  • Users could be educated on how to adapt or manage their own levels of comfort in relation to price, as has been achieved in the US. We don’t always need to educate just the consumer, but perhaps also the supplier too in terms of technology/user needs. Consumers/user could be given a provision of service in which they buy a specific temperature or level of comfort, rather than a quantifiable amount of energy. 
  • Regulation can stifle innovation, as has happened in the new build sector in the UK. 
  • Energy users have a responsibility regarding their own energy use. We should have an awareness of what happens when we turn lights on. There are complex barriers to obligation schemes e.g., insulation etc., for a variety of social reasons.
  • Technology must change to meet user needs, and users should have the tools to know how to use their energy effectively and efficiently. 
  • In New Zealand there is an energy supplier obligation scheme which is focused on health rather than energy and carbon. A similar approach could result in cost savings to the NHS etc. 
  • The built environment must be improved in conjunction with low carbon supply and demand reduction. There is currently a mis-match between heat supply, demand and efficiency measures.
  • Innovation must be reassessed in terms of collaborations between companies in Scotland; for example, a joined up and collaborative approach to replacing sash windows by ‘installer groups’. This should be a long term approach, fully and effectively strategized.

Main high-level points and sector requirements:

  • An integrated approach to energy storage, generation and the built environment.
  • Development of visual energy user interfaces as a means of communicating energy usage. 
  • A localised approach to building regulations to account for climatic geographic variations.
  • The Scottish Government should include health and well-being as a driver for energy efficiency measures – not just about carbon and energy.

Find the day's presentation on the righ


Bio Energy Session

Speaker: Dr Ian Watson (The University of Glasgow)

Panel Members: Susan Weatherstone (Uniper), Johann Patridge (Biotech Innovation Centre), Hannah Chalmers (BECCS) & Janine Kellet (Scottish Government)

In the Bio Energy Session, there was discussion of the current conflicting use of the bioenergy resource supply, different technologies and cost implications. A brief summary of session notes are as follows:


  • There needs to be further research & development in order to assess the most appropriate technologies and combinations.
  • When bioenergy technologies reach TRL’s 4-7 (the Valley of Death), there are significant challenges when trying to attract private investment. There is a risk that at this stage investment will be lost from Scotland because of a lack of financial backing to bring the technology through to commercialisation.
  • Can links be made with other technologies (eg, biorefineries) in order to increase overall efficiency? 
  • We must look at the sustainability of different feedstocks which come from different geographic locations.
  • It is important that this sector engages with and connects with the end users and communities. 
  • There must be an assessment of whether Scotland has the right type and quantity of the necessary resource to meet its potential technical needs; for example, is the correct feedstock in the right place? The quality and quantity of the resource can be critical. However, growing the resource can be a time consuming process with a significant lag time before use. 
  • Questions which must be answered include: what can the government do to overcome the ‘valley of death’ for technologies within Scotland? How can issues related to manufacturing be addressed? How can bioenergy feed into the Scottish Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP)?

Main high-level points and sector requirements:

  • Bioenergy has a significant role to play in the energy mix. However, we need to optimise and understand all aspects of bioenergy and biorefineries. 
  • The next steps for the ETP Bioenergy Theme (and sector) are to work with the Scottish Government to hold future meetings in order to develop a bioenergy strategy for Scotland. 
  • We need a ‘plan for a plan’. 

More detailed presentations from each panellist is available on the right-hand panel.


Wind Energy Session

‘Wind Energy; towards meeting 2030 targets’
The draft Scottish Energy Strategy proposes “a new 2030 all energy renewable target, setting an ambitious challenge to deliver half of Scotland’s heat, transport and electricity needs from renewable sources”. By 2030, it is envisaged that both onshore and offshore wind will be competitive with gas.
The panel discussion focussed on the challenges and opportunities to assist in meeting this target, and discussed the RD&D required for both onshore and offshore Wind Energy.

Challenges and Opportunities - Onshore Wind
•    Repowering and replanting – life extension
•    Consenting and planning
•    Rural community use of renewables – direct benefits
•    Subsidy-free wind farms
•    Public acceptance – visual impact

Challenges and Opporunities - Offshore Wind
•    Huge scope for innovation due to technology advances – all aspects
•    O&M costs – good traction
•    Cost of finance – lot of government risk taken in Europe markets
•    Novel approaches to turbine design – long timescales in relation to 2030

Systems Approach
•    Need for flexible utilisation of assets
•    Use of off grid sources – hydrogen – reduce cost of electric vehicle charging
•    Storage challenges with different technologies
•    Community involvement

Way Forwards
•    Closer collaboration between academic, industry and policy makers
•    Long term energy hubs integrating different sectors
•    Community engagement programs
•    High level changes in risk profile to drive offshore scale developments – government led initiative
•    Investigate 10 year design life for wind farms
•    Innovation in mixed turbine and blade technology farms

A full version of this summary and each of the day's presentations are available on the right.

Socio-economic Development, Green Jobs and Skills

A summary from the Socio-economic session highlighted a multidisciplinary approach, the need for better information and signals from government, broader focus on skills issues and the need for wider public engagement. Multidisciplinary collaboration was highlighted as important for a number of reasons not limited to simply accessing to alternative funding options. Importantly, interaction between different collaborating parties, academic and non-academic, allows all actors to overcome certain misconceptions and therefore deliver better quality outputs. A significant part of the discussions focused on government, as only through a clear plan will it become possible to identify which technologies will be emerging as dominant and which will become obsolete. The Scottish Energy Strategy (SES) was considered by the attendees to be more generally lacking in terms of consideration of the development of the skills necessary to introduce and operate the innovative technologies that will be required to achieve the SES goals. This creates uncertainty as to how these skills will be created. The final topic discussed was that, for SES to be successfully implemented, it is of paramount importance that the general public acts in ways that facilitates the achievement of the energy strategy goals. It was therefore suggested that a more bottom-up public engagement approach should be adopted.

See the presentations from the day and the full summary document attached on the right.

Solar PV Session

Chair: Dr. Aruna Ivaturi, University of Strathclyde
Industry Representative: John Forster and Ewan Sneddon, Forster Group Ltd.
Public Sector Representative: Chris Thompson, Castle Rock Edinvar

The discussion was focused towards reinforcing the important role solar PV can play as the most versatile renewable energy source that is complementary to the existing renewable energy mix in meeting the ambitious targets set in Scottish Energy Strategy. The industrial and public sector perspective highlighted the typical customer base for the roof-top PV installations in the UK housing/building, the challenges and barriers the sector faces and the approach being adopted to improve assets and address fuel poverty. STA Scotland projected the possibility of an ambitious target of 6-7GW of solar PV deployment in Scotland by 2030 with reduced barriers in contrast to a possible 2GW with barriers. This is despite the challenges from the recent changes in the UK policy, which includes reductions to the Feed-in-Tariff and early closure of the Renewables Obligation. Solar PV system was discussed as an ideal way to achieve Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) targets in a cost-effective way while ensuring minimal disruption to residents. The academia projected a different perspective discussing the opportunities in the innovations in the field. These included the incremental innovations e.g continuous drop in the cost of the matured PV technologies leading to the predicted grid parity in near future as well as the step-change innovations e.g the emergence of new era in PV (the Perovskite Solar Cells). Removing road blocks to the research, innovation and early adoption of the emerging new technologies was discussed in the contest of perovskite-Si tandem which have the potential to emerge as game changers in the PV market. One of the major barriers considered was the lack of knowledge about the Scotland’s Solar potential for the consumers, funders as well as for government and hence the importance to educate them.

 The presentation from the day is in the right panel.

Energy Conversion and Storage Session

In the Energy Conversion and Storage session, we discussed three major areas:

(1)     Organising and ensuring inter- and multidiscipline research,
(2)     Encouraging and promoting interactions between stakeholders (academia, industry, policy makers)
(3)     Identifying roadblocks to commercialisation.

These areas were covered by discussing in small groups:

1. What disciplines do we identify as those which are most important for tackling innovation in energy storage (e.g. engineering, inorganic chemistry, social sciences)? Is there already strong interdisciplinary energy research and if not, how can we bring these areas together so that we are more than the sum of our parts?

The group discussing this question spent some time identifying those areas in which the potential for innovation was greatest, which included pumped sea water, batteries, fuel cells and hydrogen storage. The critical point here was to maintain the baseline in the absence of, for example, nuclear power. One important point made was that we properly market what we do to make sure that the international community know our strengths. We also discussed the importance of government to promote, grow and keep our industries. It was suggested that a series of ETP Grand Challenges could be defined to connect people around longer term strategies.

2. How do we ensure that there is sufficient overlap and engagement between the various stakeholders in energy storage research, i.e. academics, industrialists, policy makers? Are there barriers to this and if so what can we as a community do to promote and ensure continued engagement?

Three key points were raised here:
- Establishing current state of knowledge through communication, working groups, DTC, stakeholder mapping exercises
- Devise a strategy. System thinking: overall strategy concept should be inclusive / Needs clear communication and understanding
- Implementation. Where to target the market / Public engagement / Learning from other countries / Financing / Impact of regulation / Education

3. What are the roadblocks to achieving successful commercialisation of research in Scotland? Are there issues with bridging the early TRL research with those higher TRL demands of industry? What do we as a community need in place to bridge early and late TRLs?

Current research is mainly ongoing at TRL 1-3. More investment is required in order to push through to the device stage (e.g. TRL 3-4). Industrial focus is more at levels 6-9, with academia at levels 1-4.  Therefore, there exists a gap which should be addressed. Better feedback loops are needed. The group identified a need for funded for de-risking new research and also as an incentive to take research further.

On the right can be found a fuller discussion of these outcomes along with a wordcloud overview. There is also the original presentation from the session.



Energy Systems

Chair: Prof. Joe Clarke, University of Strathclyde
Industry Representative: Alan Mortimer, Sgurr Energy
Public Sector Representative: Seonaid Vass, Scottish Enterprise

Energy Systems Session Synopsis

The draft Scottish Energy Strategy proposes “a whole-system view of energy policy” and encourages an integrated approach “in recognition of the interactions and effects that the elements of the energy system have on each other”.  This 75 minute session focused on the challenges and opportunities which might need to be addressed to support the transition towards increased energy systems integration.

The session adhered to a two-part format. In Part 1, sectoral perspectives on Energy Systems research and challenges, in light of the draft Scottish Energy Strategy, were presented by three invited speakers: Seonaid Vass (Scottish Enterprise), Alan Mortimer (Wood Group Clean Energy) and Joe Clarke (University of Strathclyde). In Part 2, these speakers were joined by Anna Kynaston (Scottish Government) and Paul Mitchell (ETP Directorate) and a discussion initiated addressing opportunities and mechanisms to enable a whole-system approach to future energy systems integration.

The brief event gave rise to some key messages that may be summarised as follows.

•    There is potential to capitalise on existing assets and capabilities, e.g.:
−    training and demonstration facilities (PNDC, National HVDC Centre, EMEC);
−    the Offshore Renewables and Energy Systems Catapults;
−    innovation support (Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme, Local Energy Challenge Fund, Oil and Gas Innovation Centre, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, Interface, ETP);
−    an extensive clean energy oriented company base; and
−    the widely available HEI research expertise.

•    There is a need to maintain progress at the strategic level while developing new local energy system solutions, e.g.:

−    deploying the most cost-effective technology available, e.g. large-scale wind turbines;
−    resolving grid integration challenges through active network management and distributed intelligence;
−    electricity/ heat network support from distributed energy storage;
−    building/ industry control systems for dynamic energy demand management and demand/ supply matching;
−    electrification of heat and transport;
−    cost-effective production of hydrogen; and
−    incorporation of carbon capture and utilisation into future energy systems at all scales.

•    Non-technical innovations will be required, e.g.:
−    new business and investment models;
−    sectoral integration (heat, water, transport, built environment etc.);
−    balancing national and international perspectives;
−    consumer engagement/ behavioural change through digital connectivity;
−    providing modelling tools for hybrid energy systems options appraisal;
−    robust policy formulation through multi-organisation scenario agreement for whole system modelling;
−    investment in the skills base (adaptation of UG, PG and CPD courses);
−    intelligent systems monitoring and active management at the urban scale; and
−    scaling up of supply-chains and technologies.

•    There is an expanding role for the HEI sector, e.g.:
–    review of technologies and future development scenarios;
–    review of policy case studies globally to identify the appropriate approaches for Scotland;
–    routine testing and trialling of proposed products and services;
–    ensuring technological compatibility, reliability, security and operational flexibility;
–    development of procedures and assessment criteria for the cost and performance appraisal of proposals.

Energy Networks Session

This session provided an update on the activities to date of the ETP Theme – Power systems and grid technologies, and considered the wider challenges faced by energy networks in the context of whole energy systems, and the priorities for research, development and demonstration activities that will support the realisation of the flexible, resilient grids that best support the efficient attainment of the ambitious policy targets. Panel members included: Graeme Burt (University of Strathclyde), Gerard Boyd (Scottish Power), David Butler (Scottish Enterprise).

Significant advances have been made in recent years in the decarbonisation of electricity generation, incorporating the widespread penetration of distributed generation, the closure of large thermal plant, and the uptake of emerging low carbon technologies. The provision of flexibility and resilience, the support for new policy targets and effective customer service, and the efficient delivery of infrastructure investment, all take on fresh meaning and challenge for the existing grid.

The opportunities for research, development and innovation presented by these challenges are numerous. Previous review work in Scotland has attempted to highlight where the greatest commercial opportunities in the smart grid space exist, and the opportunities in network automation, data acquisition and analysis, and demand side management were cited. The session participants provided perspectives from public sector, industrial, and academic perspectives, and the following were highlighted as active opportunities:

  •     Renewable heat and transport technologies and multi-vector energy system trials
  •     Integrated active network management & dynamic ratings
  •     Balancing services including demand side response and addressing system inertia issues
  •     Energy storage and the provision of increased flexibility
  •     Development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies
  •     The role of gas grids in contributing to decarbonisation targets
  •     Sensors, communications and information systems
  •     Solutions to extend the life of aging assets
  •     Data modelling and forecasting methods
  •     More energy efficient appliances and lighting
  •     Electric heat pump technology
  •     Pricing and tariffs, including blockchain technology
  •     Hybrid systems incorporating DC grids

See the full summary to the right.

Presentations and Notes from the Sessions

Please use these resources. They include presentations given at the sessions and notes taken to draw conclusions of the discussions that took place.

The presentation accompanying the keynote speech by Chris Stark from the Scottish Government can be accessed here.



For the initial presentation, click here.

For a longer discussion of session outcomes, click here.

Energy Efficiency


Click here for the Energy Efficiency presentation.

Socio-economic Development


A full summary of conclusions can be found here

Presentation by Karen Turner here.

Presentation by George Cobb here.




 The Solar PV presenatation from the day can be found here.

Energy Systems

For the delivered presentation from the Energy Systems session, find it here.

ESI Challenges Map

Energy Systems Session Statement

Bio Energy


Presentation - Hannah Chalmers

Presentation - Ian Watson

Presentation - Johann Partridge

Presentation - Susan Weatherstone