Horizon Scanning

Inspiring Insights

Deep dive into the collated external sources below which help inform the Net Zero Technology Centre's vision for the future of the industry, and our technology development roadmap to help creating a net zero North Sea energy system.

Key reports

  • Reducing Emissions in Scotland - 2020 progress report to partliment

    Reducing Emissions in Scotland - 2020 progress report

    October 2020 | Climate Change Committee

    Climate Change Committee's (CCC) ninth report to the Scottish Parliament assesses Scotland’s progress in achieving its targets to reduce GHG emissions - click here to access report. 

    The report shows that Scotland’s emissions fell by 31% from 2008 to 2018, primarily due to a 3x increase in renewable electricity generation and a 70% decrease in fossil-fuelled generation. Still, emissions increased by 2% in 2018.

    Recommendations on priorities areas for Scottish Government:

    • Deliver updated Climate Change Plan to put Scotland on course to Net Zero by 2045.
    • Develop UK Emissions Trading System in partnership with UK, Wales & Northern Ireland.
    • Set out vision for future low-carbon heating in buildings, integrated with decisions on future gas grids and energy taxation.
    • Develop rural support scheme to build towards Scotland’s climate goals.
    • Make it easier to walk, cycle, use public transport, and work from home in Scotland
    • Develop electric vehicle charging infrastructure and enabling measures to eliminate the need to buy petrol /diesel cars in Scotland by 2032.
    • Accelerate investment in low-carbon & climate adaptation infrastructure to stimulate economy, build long-term capacity and improve resilience
  • World Energy Outlook 2020

    World Energy Outlook (WEO) report 2020

    October 2020 | International Energy Agency (IEA)

    The International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook (WEO) provides a comprehensive illustration of how the global energy sector might develop in the coming years. Click here to access report.

    As opposed to long term horizons, the WEO 2020 places a firm focus on the next 10 years, relating specifically to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the energy sector. It analyses the key uncertainties and implications facing the energy sector in relation to the duration of the pandemic and the response of policy makers, as well as the choices that would pave the way towards a sustainable recovery.

    Key conclusions:

    • The IEA assesses that global energy demand will drop by 5% in 2020, energy-related CO2 emissions by 7% and energy investment by 18%, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • The estimated falls of 8% in oil demand and 7% in coal use is coupled with a slight rise in the contribution of renewables.
    • In all three possible scenarios predicted by the IEA, renewables grow rapidly with solar at the centre of this new constellation of electricity generation technologies.
    • Electricity grids could prove to be the weak link in the transformation of the power sector, with implications for the reliability and security of electricity supply.
    • The era of growth in global oil demand comes to an end within ten years, but the shape of the economic recovery is a key uncertainty. In the absence of a larger shift in policies, it is still too early to foresee a rapid decline in oil demand.
    • Lower prices and downward revisions to demand, resulting from the pandemic, have cut around one-quarter off the value of future oil and gas production.
  • Energy Technology RD&D Budgets 2020

    Energy Technology RD&D Budgets 2020

    October 2020 | International Energy Agency (IEA)

    The IEA Energy Technology RD&D Budgets 2020 - click here to access report.

    The estimated global public energy RD&D budget has increased between 2017 and 2019 after several years of decline.

    The report also concluded that investment in energy RD&D has become progressively more diverse over the last 40 years. 

    In 1974, nuclear power commanded 75% of the total public energy RD&D budget, before witnessing year-to-year reductions to reach 22% in 2019, a comparable share to energy efficiency (21%), renewables (15%) and cross-cutting (22%). RD&D fossil fuel budgets, at their highest in the 1980s and 1990s, have declined from 15% in 2013 to 8% in 2019.

    In PPP terms, the USA (33%) and Japan (13%) spent the most on energy RD&D among IEA member countries, followed by France, Germany, the UK, Canada, Korea, Italy and Norway. The European Union, when considered as a separate entity from its Member States, contributed 10% of the total RD&D budgets for IEA members, mainly from the Horizon 2020 programme. Expenditure increased in 2019 for all countries mentioned except Japan, where it fell by 2%.

    In terms of public energy RD&D budgets per unit of GDP, Norway (1.69 per thousand) led by some margin, followed by Finland (0.81), Japan (0. 57), Switzerland (0.57) and Canada (0.56).