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Saving energy, cutting carbon, driving growth

Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of visiting Goldenacre Mini Market in Edinburgh with the Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse to launch a new loan cashback scheme designed to help small businesses implement new efficiency measures which will help them tackle rising energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint.

Iain Gulland | 2 Feb 18

For a limited time only, eligible SMEs applying for an interest-free, unsecured Scottish Government loan can receive 30% cashback on the value – that’s up to £10,000 –  on completion of their energy efficiency improvements.

We know from our work that small businesses in Scotland could save up to £8,000 on average each year simply by making energy efficiency improvements. So, this is really a ‘no lose’ opportunity and I hope businesses seize it.

The new measure was announced as part of the Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy, which was published in December.  Zero Waste Scotland has been involved in different aspects of its development.

The focus on energy efficiency – and a new indicator of energy productivity – is particularly welcome for Zero Waste Scotland with our focus on eliminating all forms of waste.   The productivity measure in fact has a lot to lend itself in terms of thinking about wider ways of measuring progress to a circular economy – as well as overlaying expressing GVA per unit of energy consumed in the economy, we could also do the same per unit of materials consumed.

The new Scottish Energy Efficiency Programme will represent a step up in terms of ambition on energy efficiency and the work we’re doing through the Resource Efficient Scotland programme – backed by European Regional Development Fund – is helping to drive that acceleration.  We want businesses like Goldenacre Mini Market, who’ve bought into the benefits of energy efficiency to their bottom line and to their wider business aims, to be the norm across Scotland.

The focus on efficiency within energy intensive industries, builds on work we did previously to identify decarbonisation ‘hotspots’ and is now a key feature of the Manufacturing Action Plan for Scotland, in which we are a key partner.

More widely, there’s a strong focus on local planning and delivery of energy systems, which builds on our work on local heat and energy efficiency strategies and builds on local ownership of energy assets.  That also has a lot to lend itself to a fitting with circular economy solutions, which we are increasingly seeing developed at a local and regional level, from the grassroots approaches of our Zero Waste Towns to strategic initiatives like Circular Glasgow.

And there’s also commitment to continue to support the oil and gas sector, which includes looking at skills transfer and opportunities for circularity within decommissioning and within carbon capture and storage, which is relevant to the energy sector as a priority for the Making Things Last strategy.

Highly productive, highly efficient use of renewable and low carbon energy is a key part of a more circular economy.  The actions outlined in the Energy Strategy will ensure Scotland has an energy system that can help drive a low carbon, circular economy, through investment, targeted ambition and a long-term planning approach.

From supporting more SMEs make energy savings, through to maximising the lifetime use of our energy assets, and ensuring low carbon heat for local communities, we look forward to using our to deliver a better, more sustainable energy system for Scotland.

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