New Technologies for Achieving Low Carbon Economies: Opportunities for Aberdeen and the North East

New Technologies for Achieving Low Carbon Economies: Opportunities for Aberdeen and the North East

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Good morning everybody. I'd like to formally welcome you all to the official launch of the University of Aberdeen's Centre for Energy Transition. A milestone for the University and our Aberdeen 2040 strategy. It's my delight to welcome you all to the event today.

Achieving the global Paris goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees requires a transformative change across our economy and our society involving our industries, our workplaces, and our communities. With more than 3/4 of greenhouse gas emissions attributed to any energy production and use, we have a significant challenge and opportunity to transform our energy systems. In Scotland we are aiming for a 75% reduction in emissions by 2030 and achieving net 0 by 2045.

This transformation or transition will shift us out of a carbon intensive energy system to one that is decarbonize diverse and socially and ecologically sustainable. It must be a just transition, one that unleashes green jobs across the economy for all invests in education skills and training at all levels, and provides opportunities particularly for our young people in the green recovery. A just transition up skills and re skills the current workforce into new green energy jobs across the supply chain and commits to manufacturing the transition as we expand into industry such as offshore wind energy efficiency, hydrogen and  carbon capture and storage. A just transition empowers communities who are active participants and not passive recipients of change. It unleashes a wave of social innovation that underpins the behavioural changes that are necessary and are critical for any energy transition to succeed.

A just transition ensures that changes do not unduly impact on those with the least ability to pay. The transition is a significant opportunity to reshape our world. It will leverage low carbon finance, and triple global investment in renewable energy to 1.6 trillion US per annum by 2030, and we'll see significant advances in low carbon generation, electrification and clean fuels. Fuel poverty and energy security should be at the centre of our mission. Almost a billion people worldwide do not have access to electricity and more than 3 billion lack access to clean cooking facilities.

In Scotland, fuel poverty is still a substantial issue of concern with over 600,000 households living in fuel poverty. At every step we must remind ourselves that sustainable development goals are our guide, that energy transition must support the economy, our society, and the environment. Over the next decade we're going to see a step change in the transition to a decarbonized energy sector. We'll see the transformation of the North Sea with a four time expansion of  offshore wind in the next nine years. Hydrogen is going to play a major role in the transition with both the UK 10 point plan for a green industrial revolution and the Scottish Government's hydrogen policy statement both committing to the production of five gigawatts of capacity of low carbon and renewable hydrogen by 2030. We'll see a revolution in the electrification of transport and sustainable local travel.

A stronger focus on energy efficiency in homes and businesses, and the diversification of power and heat across smart local grids and the rise of prosumers where households store and sell power back to the grid. Our mission for the Centre for Energy transition is to pioneer cutting edge solutions with orientated research and education to advance a just energy transition. Our approach is unique drawing upon the experience of over 150 staff across the university, across a range of scientific disciplines to solve these problems and to train the energy experts of the future. The Centre for Energy Transition builds capacity across eight key themes where we're building critical mass in topics such as renewable generation, development of the hydrogen economy, supporting the delivery of CCUS, and bioenergy, energy policy reform, and building social acceptance and participation. I would encourage you to visit our website where you can learn more about our themes and our activities, meet our champions and engage with us on the journey. Our door is always open and the Centre aims to provide a one stop shop for accessing our diverse and interdisciplinary research.

We're addressing the challenge of educating the future energy workforce by adapting our existing programs and degrees and developing new innovative and flexible offerings in energy transition. This includes the UK's first postgraduate degree in energy transition systems and technologies, launching in September, and our new short course in energy transition fundamentals for over 160 masters students which we're launching tomorrow in partnership with TotalEnergies. Energy transition can't be done in isolation, it involves partnership and working together to this common goal. We invite you to join us on this journey to engage with us and co-develop the solutions. Now we have a fantastic lineup today and I'm really looking forward to our insightful presentations from our special guests and partners on how we can deliver a transition in practice.

My sincere thanks to Professor George Boyne Principal of the University, Right honourable Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth. Keith Anderson, Chief Executive of Scottish Power. Jean-Luc Guiziou Managing Director of TotalEnergies UK. Steve Scrimshaw, Vice President of Siemens Energy and Alison Stuart from Aberdeen Climate Action. Also a big

welcome to you all for joining us online this morning and thanks for attending this event and thanks for our staff in public affairs, events and  marketing who have worked around the clock for the past few months to pull this event together. Just before I hand over to the Principal just a couple of housekeeping notes, please use the Q&A for questions. There is no chat facility so refrain from posting comments such as 'I agree'. Questions are moderated and they won't appear instantly and you'll also be able to like questions with most likes being addressed first. We'll address as many questions as we can through the event, however, we'll try to follow up any unanswered questions with a response in future iterations. So now it's my pleasure to hand over to the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, Professor George Boyne to deliver our opening address.

Thank you very much, George. Thank you Tavis for that excellent introduction and good morning everyone. Thank you for joining us for the official launch of our Centre for Energy Transition. You've probably already picked up the very strong impression that the Centre for Energy Transition is very busy, very lively, very active, very productive, and that's because it's been running for almost a year now. Today we're having the official launch, but the actual launch of the work happened some time ago. The Centre for Energy Transition is a core part  of the University of Aberdeen's strategy.

Just over a year ago we launched our 2040 strategy. A vision to take us forward for the next two decades with energy transition as a core part of that strategy. Our strategy builds on our 1495 foundational purpose for being open to all and dedicated to the pursuit of truth in the service of others. And we thought long and hard, both internally and in consultation with our external partners, about how we could best be in the service of others over the decades ahead. And we chose five topics to focus on which are relevant here in the North East and relevant globally. Those are Health, Nutrition and Well being,  Data and artificial Intelligence, Environment and Biodiversity, Social Inclusion and Cultural Diversity and Energy Transition.

We chose these not only because of their relevance to the North East and the wider world, but also we could see their strong connections to each other. In other words, if we make progress on one of these, then the others will come along at the same time. In the specific context of energy transition, for example, this is likely to be driven strongly by data and artificial intelligence is our technologies improve, and as managerial and leadership strategies develop. Also, if energy transition is successful and we are confident that it will be here in the North East, then we'll see positive effects on the physical environment. We'll

see positive effects on inclusion, because as Tavis has explained everyone is keen on a just transition that brings everyone along with it and we will see positive effects on health, nutrition and well being because energy transition will create jobs, create high quality jobs that will replace the traditional employment in oil and gas that we've had so much of here in the North East, and that's essential for the welfare and the well being of our population. So energy transition is moving at pace. This is something that is urgent and moving very quickly, and that's because a whole constellation of forces is coming together to drive it. Changes in social and public values, about the importance of our environment. Changes in consumer preferences, changes in technology, and those are really moving very, very rapidly to help to push renewables forward as our major energy source.  Changes in government regulations, Changes in market pressures and company strategies.

These underpin any change in social and economic circumstances. I think about the remarkable thing about energy transition is that they're all moving at the same time. They're all moving in the same direction, so this shift is irreversible. Right in the middle of all this sits not only government energy companies and universities, but as Tavis has explained, the Centre for Energy Transition itself, which will be interpreting, understanding, tracking the development of the transition process, but also facilitating it and supporting it by developing new technologies and by developing new ideas. So the Centre for Energy Transition will be thinking deeply,  and acting quickly, which is exactly what we need in this unique set of circumstances.

No pressure Tavis. Of course, none of this as Tavis has mentioned can be accomplished by any organization on its own, or buy any research and educational center, so we'll be working very closely with our partners in the Scottish Government in the UK Government, In the public sector in the private sector, in the third sector, to ensure that we all cooperate to take the North East forward to ensure that it is still a leading energy capital in the decades ahead. I'm pleased to say that we have representatives from some of these organizations speaking at our event this morning, and we're starting with the recorded message from Anne Marie Trevelyan, who is the UK Government's Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth.

Thank you for invitation to speak at the launch of the University of Aberdeen's Centre for Energy Transition today. I'm delighted to be speaking to you at such an exciting time for North East Scotland. Aberdeen and the wider region will have a critical role to play in the energy transition over the coming years, so I particularly welcome the establishment of this new centre. Decarbonisation has been on the political and the policy landscape in the UK for many years now, and with Glasgow set to host COP26 in November, now more than ever there is political support for this agenda at the highest levels of government.

Our commitment to NetZero means we need a strong and joined up policy framework across the whole of government. We know and are reminded regularly by our advisors at the Climate Change Committee that we need to move faster in almost every sector. For decades, the offshore oil and gas industry has strengthened our energy security, keeping us warm, moving us around and enabling us to manufacture in our industrial heartlands. I want to give a clear message to the sector which will play a critical role in delivering an energy transition whilst developing the skills and green jobs which are necessary to achieve this.

It is crucial that we innovate at pace as industry continues on its path in moving forwards a low carbon future. I am delighted that the landmark North sea transition deal has been agreed between the government and industry supporting workers, businesses and the supply chain through this shift in our energy system. The deal delivers on several of our key priorities as a government, including tackling harmful climate change, building back stronger from the pandemic, and ensuring that workers and communities do not get left behind, as well as focusing on decarbonization and deployment of new technologies. The deal includes important commitments to developing skills and promoting innovation.

Today, the Prime Minister's 10 point plan and the energy White Paper represent the UK's blueprint for eradicating our contribution to climate change by 2050. The 10 point plan represents a short to medium term set of objectives. It sets out a plan to mobilize  £12 billion of government investment by 2030 to level up regions across the UK and to support up to 250,000 highly skilled green jobs.

The investment covers significant infrastructure built including in power generation CCUS and hydrogen, and a major program of retrofitting homes for improved energy efficiency and clean heat. By doing so, we sent clear signals to industry, setting ambitious targets, and demonstrating where we will be concentrating our funding and efforts in the near term. The energy White Paper published in December provided further detail on these measures and embed them in practical longer term  strategy. It establishes a framework for a decarbonized system that is affordable and reliable, which should act as a reference for policy making for the coming years. I recognized the pivotal role that Aberdeen plays as a hub for the energy sector in the UK, and so the new Centre for Energy Transition is particularly well placed. I'm delighted that the Chancellor has committed to funding that targets these regions and supports business's to develop low carbon energy.

This includes up to £27 million for the Aberdeen Energy Transition zone, £2 million for the continued development of the North Sea transition deal, and up to £5 million additional funding for the global underwater hub. In March of this year over £31 million was also awarded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to support the development and deployment of Scotlands net zero infrastructure. The funding will help develop both onshore and offshore infrastructure linked to the Acorn project, which is at the heart of the Scottish industrial clusters decarbonization plans. Aberdeen is perfectly poised to become a world leader in utilizing the pioneering technologies required for the energy transition, most notably the UK Government has provided funding to the Dolphin project in Aberdeen, the world's first floating offshore wind farm to produce green hydrogen at scale. The pioneering Dolphin project will sit 15 kilometres off the coast, providing full giga Watt of power, with the potential to heat more than a million and a half UK homes with no carbon emissions. Taken together, this package of measures demonstrates our commitment to Net Zero, recognizing the strategic importance of Aberdeen as a hub for innovation, and the important contribution that the offshore oil and gas sector will continue to play in providing the skills and the expertise that our future needs.

So, having now achieved a North Sea transition deal, we must work together to focus on the delivery of the ambitious commitments in the deal, which ensures that Aberdeen and Northeast Scotland remained poised to lead the way in the UK energy transition. The new Centre for Energy Transition at the University of Aberdeen will help this vision become a reality. Thank you so very much for inviting me to join you today.  Thank you very much to the honourable minister for that recorded statement in support for the Centre for Energy Transition and we appreciate the support for the Centre and the whole range of exciting things that are happening in the Northeast going forward.

It's now my pleasure to hand over to our first panelist, Keith Anderson, who is the chief executive of ScottishPower. Keith. Thank you very much for joining us today. We appreciate it. Alright, thank you  Thanks Tavis,  Thanks for the the introduction.

It's a real pleasure to be here today and thank you for inviting me to join you today on what is I think there's a brilliant day, a momentous day in many ways for the University, but also I think are really really important day for Scotland and for the UK because the work that the Centre is going to do is coming at exactly the right time. It's a really critical time for the future of the energy sector, but it's a real inflection point I think in terms of the future of how we get to net zero and some of the work that has to be undertaken. A Scottish Power we have  seen ourselves and positioned ourselves as pioneers on this journey towards net zero. We've been on the journey as a company for the last 20 to 25 years, and we were the first large energy company to move to 100% green generation.

We have literally shut down all of our coal plants. In fact, we actually singlehandedly shut down all of Scotland's coal generation a few years ago as well, we moved away from gas, and we've been investing now in onshore, offshore, wind, solar and all of the money we are investing in the grid as well is also all focused around renewable energy in the transition to net zero. I can honestly can hand on heart now say that everything we're doing as a company is really seen through that prism of how is it we achieve net zero? How do we get the UK to get there by 2050? But today is obviously not about Scottish Power.

It's not about the past and it's really about where we are now and and how we get to net zero and how we move forward. And I do genuinely think we are at a really exciting point, as i say a  reflection point. To start answering some of the questions we've been asking for quite awhile, but now they really do need to get answered.

So questions like how do we deliver a renewable and reliable energy system at scale to meet the massive demand that we're going to see on decarbonized transport,  decarbonized heating, as well as just normal use of electricity. How do we maximize the economic benefits for Scotland and for the whole of the UK from this green revolution and make sure we get all of the right innovation, research materials, manufacturing supply chain through to help the Scottish economy grow. And then also how do we ensure, and this is really, really critical,  How do we ensure communities benefit from all of this and that no one is left behind as we move forward to this new economy? And these are all questions I think that that the Centre is looking to answer. I think they are questions that the Centre has a leading role to help trying to find the answers to. And right now is a brilliant time to be doing that. It's a real mix of technical research, engineering innovation, economic modeling, and then a massive wallop or a massive dose of sociology thrown over the top of it as well.

And really, I just couldn't think of a better mix and a better way of going about doing this right now. I think it's just a brilliant brilliant aim and a brilliant objective. And if you think about you know right now how much we're going to ramp up activity over the next few years as we head towards 2030 and we look to do 40 gigawatts of offshore wind. We're going to ban petrol and diesel engines. We're going to have massive cuts in greenhouse emissions.

We're going to have to decarbonize heating. The future is coming at us faster and faster every day and every day we move towards net zero the future is going to come faster and faster and faster,  the changes are coming faster and faster , so the work for the Transition Centre It is becoming more and more important. The industry is changing incredibly quickly and if you look at green hydrogen, If you go back two or three years ago no-one even talked about green hydrogen and now is at the forefront of everybody's thinking, how do we get the hydrogen economy up and running? How do we get the investment and the innovation into electrolyzers? How do we link it to wind farms? Floating offshore wind was another one. Yep, for a number of years now we've been looking at it, but it's really been an R&D sector. And now on the back of Scotwind we can see the massive industrialization of floating offshore wind, again another huge step forward. So in some ways it's not to be critical, but in some ways if anything in terms of the Centre for Energy Transition the one thing I would change about it is its name.

I don't think it's a transition anymore, I think it's a revolution. You know and that is what this centre is at the heart of. And I think it's a brilliant time to do it, you're at the heart of a revolution for the future of the country, a revolution for the future of the energy sector and what a brilliant, brilliant place to be and a brilliant objective. I'm really clear for Scottish Power and I think that that the center is incredibly clear that everybody has to share in the benefits of the revolution. All the economic and social benefits have to be spread right across the whole of the country.

Remote communities, socially disadvantaged areas all need to have access to the benefits of what we're trying to do, whether it's EV charging infrastructure, whether it's public transport, whether it's jobs and training opportunities. Whether it's your manufacturing and industrial investment as well, we need to make sure that all parts of the Community get involved. As Aberdeen knows only too well, communities that have been defined and grown around heavy carbonize energy needs need to find that pathway to transition and to change towards that low carbon industry. It's something I'm absolutely committed to supporting is something I think we're really committed to in terms of the recruitment drive we've just started, so we're on our biggest recruitment drive for probably 5 or 10 years, and it's a real hope for me that we see that right across the whole of the sector that we create these jobs and they create this transition so that people don't just hear the words they see it they feel it, they have access to it, and they know it's happening for them and in their local area.

Getting to net zero is gonna mean massive changes for all of us. It means changes is how we operate as a business, It changes to the energy sector, is changes to regulation, but it changes the peoples' everyday lives, you know and that's really really critical. So without the buy in of people who work in the companies, the buy in of employees, the buy in of communities and consumers, we are never ever going to get to netzero, and again, that makes the work of the Centre really, really really critical in terms of how do we ensure we do that? Help mapping out that path, not just for innovation, but for a job rich transition, and one that spreads right across all of the communities. So look. Brilliant, I'm over the moon to be here today.

It's great to join you on what I think is that is the start of an incredibly promising and exciting and revolutionary adventure. So thank you. Thank you so much Keith, and Thank you just for that passion and commitment and the action that Scottish Power and yourself are doing.

And we're absolutely delighted  to be a part of this with you, and the huge changes that are that are coming every day, and particularly the fact that energy transition is a technological challenge, but it's also a societal challenge. I think you've really expressed that very clearly, thank you very much for your talk today Keith. And I'd like to hand over now to our second panelist, Jean-Luc Guiziou who is the Managing Director of TotalEnergies, recently rebranded TotalEnergies and Managing Director UK Total E&P. So Jean-Luc It is fantastic to have you along today. We thank you for your time and we're really looking forward to hearing about what Total has on offer going forward.

Over to you. Thank you Tavis for your kind introduction and effectively I'm very pleased to be part of this important event today. As has been mentioned already, this is launch of the Center for Energy Transition. It is a happy day for

all involved as we accelerate our race against the climate change. And it's true that as the Principal mentioned, it's not today that the Centre is starting it has been on for a year already which is excellent. Effectively research and innovation is at the core of the CET program. And yes, and the last 18 months have shown how important Research and Innovation is. The

COVID-19 pandemic is testing us all in new ways and as a society  we have shown that we can adapt and we can innovate to build our way to recovery. And you know the challenge for the climate change, It demands similar determination if we are to tackle it to successfully. And my industry, you know the oil & gas industry is at the front line of addressing this challenge. We must reduce our emissions absolutely, but we also need to continue producing in a responsible way the energy that fuels our lives and our economies. And we must make these changes in a way that is fair to our workforce as mentioned already by previous speakers, that's very important indeed. So I'm here today to say that my company TotalEnergies understands that a requirement for us to produce energy which is carbon free or carbon neutral.

So we are committed to working with society and the stakeholders, and the Governments to reach net zero emissions by 2050. I recognize that Scotland has a a target of 2045 to reach that Netzero an milestone. So this road map this objective requires significant investments, including in research and innovation, but it also requires significant investment in developing the competences and the skills that we need.

And this is where strong partnerships with universities come into play. So some of you might have a notice that I used TotalEnergies rather than Total. Indeed, as you mentioned, Tavis, to mark how energy is changing and how we must change with it, we have changed the name of our company. So a new name signals how we are transforming from a traditional Oil & Gas business to a broad energy company. We're changing scale and we are accelerating our investments in renewable energy and also reducing emissions from our existing oil and gas operations, including by either capturing or offsetting the remaining emissions with CCUS or nature based solutions.

This would be clearly labelled indeed for the transition towards a carbon free or an absolute carbon neutral energy. So our transformation as a company will be global,  but an important part of it will occur here in the UK, and even here in Scotland,  in Aberdeen. We have had a long and proud history of exploration and production in the North Sea, and we aim to continue that, but in a broader manner. As you may know, as you may know, in 2019 we became partners in the NetZero Teesside CCUS project. Last year we took 51% partnership or stake into the SeaGreen project, which is Scotland's largest offshore wind farm today.

And this year we were awarded licenses to develop a substantial 1.5 GW offshore wind farm off the coast of Lincolnshire. And in ways we are as well developing the new technology which we see as a good potential for the UK and for Scotland, and that is the floating offshore wind projects that Keith has mentioned already  in the previous presentation.

So across the UK and in the Celtic sea this will open the way to renewable energy development as well. And we look forward to opportunities to propose also in project in UK waters in the future. So by having this broad mix of energies in our portfolio, because we still remain a large contributor of gas mainly to the UK economy into the UK households. So by the mix of energies we can more easily develop the experience and the skills of our staff, preserving the high quality jobs.

And contributing to an energy transition that is fair to the UK's energy workforce. Within TotalEnergies we have started a so called one tech initiative so that is grouping all of our technical competences, all of our engineers worldwide into a single organization called One Tech which will serve and support all of the businesses of the company including the renewable field and the renewable projects. So we see that happening already in our in our office here in Aberdeen, where more and more of our technical staff is exposed to this new generation of energy projects and is being skilled and skilled up and prepared for the new generation in fact of energy professionals with the right experience that we would need in the future.

TotalEnergies is the new name for an old company. We are nearly 100 years old, but Aberdeen University, which is now over 500 years old, can make us look like a startup almost. From the Renaissance period I think up to our 21st century, Aberdeen University has a fascinating history of teaching and research and the launch today of the Centre for Energy Transition shows once again that the University moves with the times and is committed to the advance of learning of the most critical areas. So TotalEnergies is delighted effectively to support the university in this transition for Energy, for the Transition Centre and we do so with funding and scholarships, and also in delivering one of the first courses that is offered by the CET. So we trust that our support will help the new Centre make a strong start. And we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

Thank you, Tavis. Thank you very much Jean-Luc for that. It's really exciting the partnership that we're developing with TotalEnergies and we've announced today actually the the quarter of a million pounds of funding from the Total to support research and teaching in the School of Engineering across a whole range of energy transition activities, including hydrogen and solar, wind and energy, CCUS and of course the launch of our energy transition fundamentals course tomorrow with TotalEnergies as well.

Teaching over 160 master students around the fundamentals of transition to take forward. So we're really excited about this partnership. And and thank you very much for your time and your commitment today to transition and we look forward to working together. So now

It's my pleasure now to hand over to our second pre recorded message from Steve Scrimshaw, who is the Vice President of Siemens Energy. Good morning, I'm Steve Scrimshaw the Vice President of Siemens Energy for the UK and Ireland, and today I'm delighted to  be here to join and support the inauguration of the Centre for Energy Transition. Last year in November, the UK Prime Minister announced his ambitious 10 point plan for a green industrial revolution extending support to clean, energy, transport, nature and innovative technologies. With a 12 billion of government investment, the plan intends to create support with 250,000 highly skilled green jobs in the UK. The plan also set an ambitious target of five gigawatts of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. And we expect a UK hydrogen strategy to be published in early summer.

Following on from the 10 point plan,  The Scottish Government released their Hydrogen policy statement aligned to the Scottish Government's climate change plan. The policy highlights that the hydrogen sector will receive 100 million over the next five years to support a green recovery and Scotland's just transition to Net Zero. Scotland's ambition is to become a leading energy hydrogen nation with a plan to generate Five gigawatts of renewable and low carbon hydrogen by 2030.

Enough power to power the equivalent of 1.8 million homes. This year a transitional dean has been granted between the UK Government and industry with the aim to protect the 40,000 oil and gas jobs by harnessing the industry's existing capabilities and to exploit emerging technologies such as hydrogen production, carbon capture usage and storage offshore wind and decommissioning. With targets to reduce emissions by 10% by 2025, 25% by 2027 and to cut emissions by 50% by 2030. All of this has been underpinned by public and private sector investment of up to 16 billion by 2030 to reduce carbon emissions. We had seen this energy and not just supporting our customers on their path to decarbonization, but we're also actively working to decarbonize our portfolio.

We've recently announced our goal to reach climate neutrality by 2030. CO2 reduction targets align with the Paris Agreement, and have been verified by the science based targets initiative. So all in all, a great and exciting time to be in this industry as we rise to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of us. We have been collaborating with a number of global universities in the field of research and innovation. To drive the energy transition and to make young people ready for the future.

One element of that is a planned four year collaboration with the Center for Energy Transition under the University of Aberdeen on emissions monitoring systems. We are hoping that this will give ourselves the industry and our customers to make better informed decisions for the future and accelerate adoption of technologies suitable for the energy transition journey. Id finally like to thank you for the opportunity to say few words today and congratulate the University of Aberdeen for taking leadership in this important area, and I wish the Centre for Energy Transition a great start and a long and successful future as we tackle the important task that lies ahead of us. Thank you. Thank you very much, Steve from Siemens Energy and we're really enjoying a series of discussions that we've been having a Siemens Energy over the past months and we're delighted  also to have a recent collaboration around new PhD proposal with Dr Georgios Leontidis and with Siemens Energy around and monitoring emissions and performance from high performance and modern turbines.

So another great collaboration that we're pioneering. So it's now my pleasure to hand over to a close colleague Alison Stuart from Aberdeen Climate Action. Its wonderful to hear some of the perspectives from one of our really active civil society groups on climate change in Aberdeen.

So Alison thank you so much for joining us today and we're delighted to hear from you and what Aberdeen Climate Action is up to.  Thank you Tavis. Yes it is great to work with The Centre for Energy Transition and Tavis and myself and a few others are doing work at the moment on what a Community thinks of just transition. And that is ultimately very, very important, 'cause we're all part of a community. It's great to hear what's going on today from all the other speakers, but unfortunately it isn't the only story.

While energy diversification is happening right now, a just transition is really yet to come. Very few fossil fuel companies are actually committing to reducing fossil fuel production by the end of this decade and by 2030 it is crucial. It's all about increasing their low carbon portfolio to meet increasing demand, but this will not keep us within safe energy boundaries or below at 1.5 increase in global warming. We need action to cut our greenhouse gases right now in this decade, as recognized by the Dutch legal system and as Shell did in the US last week. Government and industry need to show leadership and commit to real greenhouse gas emission reductions right now.

As we can see from a lot of speakers that is happening, but it needs to happen across the board. This is not just an environmental issue, it's a whole systems issue. But when we talk about getting to net zero in relation to energy transition, we're limiting ourselves and our own imaginations. We need to think bigger.

We need to think holistically. We need to think collaboratively and inclusively. And we  need to think of systems change. When we discuss what a just transition means, the main barriers  for change are the current decision making processes and are flawed, they allow for vested interests to dominate the conversation and an elite few to actually decide our future. And the process that we're going to get to net zero.

And the speed, which is not fast enough at the moment. Currently the workforce in the communities affected by energy transition are not involved in either the visioning or the decision-making on what that future will look like. But getting to net zero does not just involve an energy transition. It involves all sectors and all parts of our society changing. We have a sector deal as the UK Prime Minister said here in the Northeast, but there's been no discussion within the region within the communities about how that money should be spent. It's purely been an industry deal.

But we need to work together and Community participation is fundamental in both creating a vision of how we want our society to look by and after 2045, but also making sure that we actually get there. We have this amazing opportunity while getting to net zero to actually create the society that we want, a fair, just, equal biodiverse, healthy and thriving one. And we need to seize that opportunity with both hands.

Everybody needs to be involved in making this a reality. Energy transition is vital, but it's more than an industrial transition. It's more than a supply issue. It's also a demand issue. We need to dramatically reduce our energy consumption as well as change how we make our energy. The two go hand in hand. In order to transition

we need the cooperation and buy in from us all, all consumers. But more than that, we also need to involve the Community in what they see the priorities of an energy transition are, and how they see it can be done. From my perspective, working in community climate change i'm seeing huge interest, passion and demand within communities to create their own energy.

We can see it locally in the Donside hydro or the wind turbines in Huntley and in Udny. And many more being developed in Collieston and Daviot. The communities want that power to be able to make their own power.

These ventures need supported and encouraged by appropriate laws, regulations and finance. Currently there are too many barriers. We need the local electricity bill to pass into law in the  UK Parliament. And a relook at the tariff systems of financial supports given to local energy schemes. Distributive energy makes sense. Home produced energy, like air source heating makes sense.

All these aspects need to be part of the discussion, and it shouldn't just be the big players in the industry and government. We're talking about a new future, and we need new ideas and new solutions. And we all need to have a voice in what that future looks like. We also need to involve people in the decision making that impacts on them. Simply using the magic words of job creation, and  Industry needs should not trump all other considerations and those considerations should be put under a microscope 'cause quite often they're simply not true and inflated. So we need to involve the Community and ensure we consider very carefully what the consequences of any industrial transition decisions might be to prevent any negative tradeoffs, especially in our more deprived or vulnerable communities.

We need to all sit around the table and talk about what the end point is and figure out together how we get there. There is so many paths that could be taken. And local thoughts and needs to determine what those paths actually are. Business can compromise as can communities. But they'll only see the need to, if they're in conversation with each other. These should not be adversarial process' but a collaborative one.

Research and just looking around shows that empowered communities make happy communities. To be empowered Communities need to be listened to and supported in taking the action that they actually want to take. Done with not done to. Embedded and real behaviour change like system change only comes through active choice and participation. We will have a richer, more diverse energy transition if we involve everybody in the process.

Thank you Tavis, over to you. Thank you so much, Alison. And it's great to hear from Aberdeen Climate Action and really emphasizing the key role that communities have in the transition to net zero and developing sustainable local economies.

So I'd like to thank all of our speakers today. We've had such an amazing array and diversity of views and opportunities and challenges about achieving Net Zero. So now I'd like to moderate a Q&A session with all the panelists, and we've had a number of questions that are coming through which we can go through, and i will respond to some of these questions directly and feed some of these questions for comment through to the panel. So we will try to get through as many as we can and those that we don't we will respond in full after the launch of the event.

So I'm going to start in order of likes. Since we're sort of linked into social media and this for questions, so I'll just look at the list and the first question we have here with a number of likes Is how will the work of the Energy Transition Centre fit in with the planned energy transition zone planned at Aberdeen South Harbour. So I want to come in with a couple of comments and then if there's any further comments from from our team, I think first that we're working with the proposal to feed into some of the technical design around for example, we fed in substantially to the recent workshop on hydrogen for the ETZ.. We're very much very strongly involved in the development of the The National Energy Skills Academy to look at opportunities and aligning the training and the education we're doing across all the educational institutions in the North East of Scotland for building and supporting local employment, training and skills. And we're supporting and we are arguing for increasing community engagement and dialogue around the proposal and particularly looking at how we can align with and support Community aspirations for jobs, Community energy and sustainable green localities. And this is part of our role as a Centre for Energy Transition as an honest broker, to be able to bring together different academic disciplines and different partners to have the negotiations about a common vision to achieve net zero.

So I'll open that now to any other comments from our panellists. Alison or George local representatives? Nope. Oh OK, I will move on to the next question. With...looks like it'll have four likes,

so this one from Kirsty in the audience. I think it's really helpful that would take it talking about not leaving individuals and communities behind in the transition. However, I'm not convinced that the communities who are at risk of being left behind have a loud enough voice. How do we avoid leaving them behind by accident? And how do we ensure that all the consequences are explored and negative ones for these Communities are mitigated. Well just a brief comment for me is that last week, and I will hand over Alison to give you some notice for this one in the communities camp. But last week we held one of the first just transition summits in the North East of Scotland for empowering communities where we had great representations from a whole range of different community organizations, local government and business coming together to discuss to identify solutions and challenges of how we can empower communities to engage in the just transition and what it means for them in very practical terms.

And this is a part of a project of the Scottish Universities Insight Institute where we're going to be developing a community toolkit and a series of resources for communities to engage in this process going forward. Alison, do you have any comment on that question? Yes no, that is crucial, and that's what we're working with as well Kirsty. Really, what we need is channels of communication.

That is what's key. So we need different ways of doing it. We need to have obligations I believe on government, local and central, to really listen to the communities to really consult with those communities.

And we don't just mean going and saying this is our plan. What do you think of it. But actually saying to them What should our plan be. And so what we need is we need people's assemblies. We need citizens assemblies, depending on how much money you have, or juries we need social media input.

We need to think about different ways in which we can do it, and the trouble is that we don't have enough research at the moment about how we can really get into communities in a big way. One of the best ways is using pre existing organisations within those communities where there is existing trust there and going to them. I think I'll pass it over to Keith, sorry.

Hi there, yeah, so look the other thing I would say is and where the opportunity lies is a lot of the work that has to go on over the next 10-20 years is around investment and the rollout of infrastructure, and that presents a huge opportunity to help with the just transition because infrastructure investment by its very nature tends to be spread and dispersed right across the whole of the country. So that's a good  point and a good start point. And through doing that you can start to involve local communities and get local communities.

But we also need to see sitting alongside that is the devolvement of regulatory process as well, so you know  there's no point in me sitting in Glasgow in a building here working alongside Ofgem who sit in a building in London trying to dictate how the electric vehicle charging infrastructure should be spread out across the Grampian region. And that's just bonkers, completely bonkers. So what we need to do is to make sure some of those processors truly involve the local community and the local areas about where is  it they want the infrastructure? How do they want the infrastructure? Who needs access to the infrastructure you need to link it to, you know public transport issues to to local community issues.

So all of that needs to be devolved down the way to to ensure that it's not as Alison said, it's not just about telling people look at this, we've got a great plan, It's about getting them involved, and here's how we want it to work in our area. But if you look at that across EV charging, you look at it across the decarbonization of heat networks. If you look at it in terms of hydrogen projects and the dispersal of hydrogen projects, all of these at their heart are going to be local community projects. Decarbonization is a local community activity. It is not a centralized process, despite the fact that targets like decarbonizing by 2050 are centralized defined targets, the actual implementation  the delivery of it, and the planning of it is a community activity. And that's why  I'm optimistic about it.

You know like Alison says, there's lots of pitfalls and traps and mistakes have been made in the past. But you have to be optimistic about it because it is by its heart a community activity and we are decarbonizing our communities and therefore the communities have to be involved in it and that's why the just transition part of it should work. And then the other point, I'll make briefly as well, which is in working with sectors like the oil and gas sector,  You know it's not about going around with a baseball bat, beating people over the head, telling them that bad.

It's about how do you manage this whole process. I mean this is a massive massive economic change and job change about how you shift and do that overtime. And again, it's about working with people and involving people to make sure we do it the right way. But I am massively optimistic that  we should be able to get that right. Thanks very much, Keith.  And George

you had a comment as well. Thanks Tavis. I think Alison and Keith have made some really important points about community involvement and community activism. I would just encourage everyone not to forget the formal channels of representative democracy, because ultimately that's where these big decisions will be made. They'll provide a framework within which Community activism can make a really positive difference, but it's really important that we continue to connect with our elected politicians in the City and Shire here in the Northeast and in Moray.

And in the Scottish Parliament and the UK Parliament so that we're influencing decision making and investment decisions. If we put all of that together along with working closely with companies who are well motivated to do the right things here, but perhaps now and again could be better informed then I think we'll get to the right place through that collective effort. Thank you George. And i note with with a lot of interest that the Scottish Government the recently elected Scottish Government, has appointed a Minister for the Just Transition as well. I believe it is Richard Lochhead from the Northeast region as well further underlining that working  with industries with our expertise in the oil and gas sector and working with communities is going to be central to this mission going forward.

So I'll move on to another question now. So this one Is equal first. So how would the centre like external entities to work with it with the mention of machine learning playing a key part, how do we get involved? That's an easy one to answer I can take that one, just drop us a line and get in touch. Our door is open. The CET, Centre for Energy Transition is a one stop shop to broader expertise and services and research groups within the university.

So whether you want to work on the social side or the engineering side, or with geosciences or with the Legal side, we can provide that conduit for you to the right team. We have 17 champions that knit together half a dozen of our schools and we aim there to get back to you as quickly as possible and to open the doors for collaboration so use us as a one stop shop. Get in touch and we can initiate a discussion with you and with all our partners about moving forward. I don't think there will be any further comment on that that question. OK, this one here from David Lynch in the audience. Excellent momentum. Great stuff.

Well we like comments like that. Thank you David. With the continued requirement for oil products, including improving the efficiency of oil and gas extraction, will be a key plank in the transition as well as the excellent work in new energy proposed,  Is the center planning to support oil and gas operations to become more efficient on costs and emissions? I worry we jump on the new flavors and forget there's a lot of potential to improve the impact of incumbent oil and gas operations on the climate. I'm going to hand over to Jean Luc.

I think he's smiling. He can see that question coming for him there, but certainly any other comments from from our panel over to Jean-Luc if you can. Yes thank you Tavis, and this question from David is effectively central to our discussion today and to what we are aiming at as you know collectively, the energy transition effectively needs that we start by doing everything we can to reduce or eliminate the  Green House gas emissions from  the current oil and gas production ,the Fossil fuel and gas, in particular for what concerns the UK will be one of the key neighbors to the just transition that we are mentioning and discussing this morning. And as a company, we are absolutely committed to working technologically. Working in terms of mindset on identifying our sources of emissions on our installations and going after them to reduce them.

We have a, you know, a road map that is now in place. We have cut by about 15% our greenhouse gas emissions over 18 months here in the UK In our offshore operations. So the the technologies and the support from you know from research from the universities will be will be also key for the industry in fact to deliver this. But there is a you know a genuine willingness and momentum within the industry here in the UK to achieve that, it's you know it's quite important.

We are doing a lot of digital development as far as our company is concerned and that helps us to effectively bait our or eliminate in fact our emissions. And by the same token we are growing Obviously our business in the pure renewable energies we mentioned, the offshore wind farms here in the UK. So as I said in my introductory note, we are skilling up, in fact, our our staff and our engineers to be able as well to support that new business. Thank you very much Jean-Luc. Alison

do you have a comment there? Yeah Id just like to say and stress that in order to get to net zero we need to actually reduce to 0 pretty much our oil and gas production or fossil fuel production by 2045. There's no getting away from that. If we don't then we're screwed quite frankly so. Yes, yes. In the mean time, there has to be a transition that has to be a managed one. We can't just shut down our oil and gas. And yes we have to green our basin, but that isn't going to be enough.

We actually do need reduction and all the technologies out there to get us to 2050 to get us away from fossil fuels. And we need to be concentrating on that. An oil and gas companies like every other company have a role to play in that, but the reduction of actually producing oil and gas is nothing compared to the reduction that we need in actually, in the kind of combustion of oil and gas and fossil fuels. And that's what really needs to change.

And that's why we need to be going out and looking at these renewables, as Jean-Luc was saying. And that's also why we need to be looking at reduction of energy demand as a priority as well. And the use of oil and gas and other fossil fuels in the making of things can be can be reduced as well. There's so many other alternatives out there, so let's let's not get away from the fact we need to reduce our fossil fuel production. Thank you. Just a brief comment from myself on that. I think also that we are going to see and there's  a lot of scenarios out there , the IEA recent report, for example, even the forecast by BP itself.

We're going to see you know, dropping off demand for oil and gas projects overtime, but transition is not a cliff edge. It is a managed transition out of these products and particularly in relation to a just transition, we really need to get this balance right to avoid major and social and economic impacts whether thats affordability for communities to access new technologies and so the demand dropping demand for oil and gas needs to be complemented by increasing demand for low carbon products, technologies and services. And I think that's one of our key missions here for the CET Is to really increase this demand and acceptability and affordability and reliability of low carbon products and services and technologies so we can increase the demand and the uptake of them so we can manage this transition. OK, I'll go to another question now if there's no more comments. This one here from Nigel Holmes from the Scottish Hydrogen Fuel Cell Association.

This ones for Keith Anderson so I'll just give you a notice there. I'll read it out slowly for you. Does offshore wind and hydrogen fit a cookie cutter approach which allows for applicability and economies of scale. Cookie cutter, right. OK, I'm not too, well that's one way of putting it Cookie Cutter. Well, I think there's a  lot of work to do  around hydrogen. And what is it we want

the hydrogen economy to look like? What is it we want to use hydrogen for? OK, undoubtedly I think there's a massive role for hydrogen to play, in the decarbonization of industrial process. OK, so there are lots of big industrial processes that use heat and predominantly used thermal heating sources and therefore hydrogen looks like a brilliant you know a brilliant potential solution for that. Lots of work needs to go in still to further Innovation and research and you know drive down,  Increase the investment and drive down the cost of the technology to get green hydrogen. The linkage to offshore wind and  onshore wind is an obvious one because the hydrogen ultimately has to end up being green and you know that's a critical part of this. I think then beyond that it's the other uses of hydrogen that we still need to explore, which is  again, I think there's an obvious, one around difficult to tackle transport solutions so some of the bigger, heavier goods vehicles, potentially some of the more remote transport issues as well.

And then there's the big unknown, which is do you use hydrogen as a heating source, a domestic heating source? OK, now, right now my view on that is no. I don't think that's a feasible optimal solution, because I think it becomes phenomenally an inefficient use of energy and an inefficient use of hydrogen. But I can understand why people still want to look at it, and people still want to do some research around it.

But certainly linking offshore wind and  onshore wind up to hydrogen prouction, absolutely 100%.  The other trick around hydrogen and where do we do the hydrogen, and produce the hydrogen is around its storage and its transportation, so the more we can do, localized hydrogen projects the better. So you know the kind of ideal solution, we've laid a couple of these projects out already, you know we're working with companies like Diageo where you do a small scale renewables installation, a hydrogen electrolyzer next to it and storage there and the industrial usage is right next door to the hydrogen production or you create hubs where your industries can link into in and around one area because you don't really want to be transporting the hydrogen from one end of the country to the other. So lots of work to do. The most important thing right now though from the government and whether this is at Westminster level or a Scottish level is to start mapping out the pathway for hydrogen because we still don't have that pathway. And if you look at the success of onshore wind, offshore wind, you look at the success of what's happening in the decarbonization of transport is because a pathway has been laid out, dates have been set and therefore investment is flooding in innovation is flooding in and  projects are coming forward, and hydrogen is still kind of stalling just now because nobody understands the pathway.

So the big push we're giving the government,  and I would say you know for work for the Centre and for others on this call is we need to keep pushing the government to layout that pathway because that's what  will encourage the flood of investment and the push forward. Thanks very much Keith. So we only have time for just a couple more questions.

As we near the end of this is fantastic session. Well, first one is quite an easy one so. Simplistic, but it's -  What are the University of Aberdeen's key strengths in relation to research and Energy Transition? So well, we have over 150 staff working on energy transition topics across the university across the whole range of our schools. So diversity and interdisciplinarity is our key aspect here. We come at this from 

engineering to law through to sociology and social sciences and geosciences. We channel these through our 8 themes of the centre, so I could just mention a couple of the specialties that we're developing within our 8 themes, in our renewable generation theme,  we're going to focus on looking at offshore wind and large scale offshore wind development and also community energy development. Diverse local community energy schemes as well for our renewables theme. In terms of our carbon capture scheme, we have a lot of expertise in looking at bioenergy particularly the rural context in the North East of Scotland,  and linking that to carbon capture and storage and also bringing together the geotechnical, the engineering and societal elements of carbon capture and storage as well. In our hydrogen theme, we are very interested in looking at developing and innovating around much more efficient forms of electrolysis for producing hydrogen, including direct solar, production of green hydrogen. We're also innovating and developing new technologies around storage, so innovating around different battery storage systems and fuel cell systems and another area of specialization for us is looking at how we facilitate, map, understand and promote a just transition, working directly with communities and elected representatives to map out what a just transition actually means for communities and how that can be plugged in through the industrial changes that are happening as well.

How we can get mutually beneficial outcomes for both industry and communities in this mission. So that will be some of the specialisms that we're developing within the CET across a very diverse institution. Probably just one more question. Now. I'll go to the top.

Given that, this is George Yule, given that oil and gas still has a key role to play in the energy transition journey is more education required for society at large re. blue hydrogen CCUS, etc. To overcome the poor image of ,somewhat poor image of the industry, that's from George Yule. Any comments on that panelist? Tavis I can offer a comment on this. Effectively you know it

It's a good point and you may know  that as an industry in the UK through our association with OGUK we have launched a stakeholder engagement program which is about exactly about that, going to the communities and establishing a dialogue in fact with the stakeholders at large. To tell about what our oil & gas industry is today and what we are committed to in terms of the roles that we want to play, and that we expect to play in the transition. So it's important it's because to get to Net Zero by 2045 or 2050 we cannot do that alone. We need to do that collectively.

We need to do that with our with our customers. We need to do that with the government. We need to do that with the with the Academy. So it's very important that knowledge and proper information impact on the energy world, including the oil and gas part is known from our large communities, So we have that  Initiative going on now throughout the country. Jean-Luc. Keith you had a comment there. Yeah, look, just pick up what Jean-Luc said I think that there is always the needs and a massive need for a continued education and information program about Net zero in its entirety OK.

The advantage we've had up until now in the way we've tackled Net zero, was we've done the bits that are easy to do because they are the bits that don't really affect people's lives. OK, now as much as for a company shutting down a coal plant and building a whole load of wind farms is a big huge technical difficult thing to do . For a consumer, for a citizen, its completely invisible. OK, because you go home at night and you put the light switch on and you have no idea at all that any change has taken place. What we're facing now, and we're getting into know is asking people to completely change the way they live their lives.

To completely change how we work as a society to change how business works, to change food production, to change what we eat. You know decarbonizing transport isn't as simple as chucking a battery in the car and thinking tick

2021-06-10 10:23

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