Scotland’s R&D work is crucial in net zero journey

As COP28 opens in the UAE this week, the global energy watchdog the International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a report outlining the actions energy producers need to take to align themselves with the Paris Agreement and reduce emissions by 75% to reach the 2050 net-zero goal.

Investment in technology is key, the report says, and it calls for oil and gas producers to put 50 per cent of their capital towards clean energy projects by 2030 to spur on progress.

The urgency of the global energy transition is evident to us all and net zero technologies are needed to re-engineer every aspect of how our world is powered. According to the IEA, 35% of global emissions will need to be addressed using emerging and future technologies.

Today, Scotland is home to a raft of exciting technologies which will be pivotal in this change. We stand on the cusp of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our energy industries and supply chains – but we need more commitment from government, investors and industries.

Billions of pounds of investment will be needed to complete the transition. However, it is the innovators, entrepreneurs and the academics who are under intellectual pressure to meet this challenge. No longer is it enough to have a good idea for it to be valuable – the good idea must be quickly deployable and scalable and we must find ways of driving costs down.

The delivery of change on an international basis is needed. Collaboration between governments, research institutions and private enterprises becomes paramount if we are to ultimately deliver the skills training and jobs required.

When the world descended on Glasgow for COP26 two years ago, one output -dubbed the Glasgow Breakthroughs – agreed global goals to make clean affordable and accessible technologies the most attractive option before 2030. One breakthrough focused on a pledge to make affordable renewable and low carbon hydrogen globally available by 2030.

Scotland is well positioned to  become a world-leading clean energy producer and exporter. In August this year, the Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC) published a report funded by the Scottish Government and industry, for the proposal of a Hydrogen Backbone Link, a £2.7 billion pipeline network connecting hydrogen hubs to other parts of Europe. The project could create around 700 jobs and position Scotland as a key player in the European hydrogen market. Essential to delivery is both international and national government involvement and investment.

A Scottish grown technology making headlines is wave energy pioneer Mocean Energy, which has been supported by NZTC. Mocean Energy is currently a key participant in the £2million Renewables for Subsea Power (RSP) programme which has connected Mocean’s 10kW Blue X wave energy prototype with a Halo underwater battery system developed by Aberdeen intelligent energy management specialists Verlume. This will use wave power plus subsea batteries to decarbonise subsea operations, powering AUVs and subsea control systems.

As the 28th COP meeting approaches, the urgency is evident. It’s crucial an accelerated energy transition receives commitment from governments, investors and industries. With this collaborative support, Scotland and its innovative entrepreneurs can contribute significantly to advancing the technology needed.