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COP26 gives us a platform to tell Scotland's world-leading renewables story

By Scottish Renewables

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By Claire Mack, chief executive, Scottish Renewables

COP26 will take place in Glasgow in November.
COP26 will take place in Glasgow in November.

The start of a new year always gives cause to reflect on the achievements of the one just lived.

2020 needs no introduction as the most unusual period any of us are likely to have experienced, but with every trial we face comes strength.

Overcoming adversity brings more confidence in our own abilities; the last year ably demonstrated that renewable technology is now mainstream within the energy system, and that a renewables-led system is now very much a reality.

We begin 2021 amidst continued uncertainty, which we had all hoped would not be the case. But while we face challenges cutting through that uncertainty, there is scope for optimism, and opportunities to be seized.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is the most obvious one sitting ahead of us here in Scotland, with Glasgow set to host this enormous international event in November.

We are well aware that COP will operate at a state level, but Scottish Renewables is working hard to ensure that Scotland – and the contribution that we can make to other countries’ journey to net-zero – is visible and recognised.

COP affords our industry leaders the chance to truly spotlight our success and light up the path to the ultimate goal of achieving net-zero. This year allows us to tell our story and use our leadership capabilities to take the real issues to governments in Edinburgh and Westminster, including both the barriers and the enabling activity required by them and us as a sector that will see us play directly into a global leadership position.

On our decarbonisation journey so far, Scotland has played a world-class role in developing onshore wind and hydropower, at all scales, with two-thirds of the UK’s onshore wind power and 85 per cent of the UK’s hydro assets operating here in Scotland.

We will continue this journey through the development of new renewable technologies that will provide more of the solutions required not just by us here in Scotland, but by the rest of the world as we take on the sprint to net-zero.

The same vision and ambition which has given us a head start will be rewarded as we start to tell our story in the run up to, and during, COP26.

Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables.
Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables.

Policy and practice is being developed right here in Scotland in technologies like green hydrogen deployment, heat decarbonisation and the development of smart energy networks – but it’s not just in technology deployment that we’re showing the way. The legislation and supporting frameworks which these technologies need are also being minted here, with the rest of the world watching on as we get it right, first.

2021 promises to be an exciting year. While it is hard to see beyond the recent setbacks we have all faced personally, and which our businesses have suffered so obviously, as a result of Covid-19, there are brighter days ahead.

As we have battled the pandemic we have seen a trail of innovation and adaptation that is truly breathtaking, and we need to dig deep and bring more of that forward.

That innovation and adaptability is what will see us prevail, and is the key story that we must take to the fight against other threats such as climate change.

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