Energy policy in Scotland will be led by the newly appointed Keith Brown, who has been named economy secretary for the Scottish government and will take on the responsibilities of former energy minister Fergus Ewing.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed her cabinet reshuffle with a particular focus on education and the economy. Brown will incorporate energy policy into his responsibilities as cabinet secretary for economy, jobs and fair work while Ewing, who had been serving as minister for business, energy and tourism, has been named rural economy and connectivity secretary.
Environment and climate change will be represented on the cabinet by a dedicated secretary for the first time with appointment of Roseanna Cunningham. The Scottish government says the new role underlines the its plans to further reduce carbon emissions, although it is unclear how closely Cunningham and Brown will work on common energy policy.
Sturgeon said: “The economy portfolio will be enhanced with a new post of cabinet secretary for economy, jobs and fair work to be filled by Keith Brown. He will build on his successful delivery of key infrastructure projects across Scotland and work intensively to secure investment into Scotland and support more people into work.
“With climate change one of the defining challenges of our generation, I can confirm Roseanna Cunningham will take up the new post of cabinet secretary for the environment, climate change and land reform.
“The cabinet I have announced today (18 May) will ensure our priorities of education and the economy are given fresh impetus; our public services are reformed and improved and we are able to respond to challenges such as climate change in the years to come.”
The SNP was recently re-elected on the back of substantial renewable energy commitments outlined in the party’s manifesto. These included plans for greater control over feed-in tariff revenues; the possible creation of a government owned energy company to help grow local and community energy projects and a Scottish Renewable Energy Bond to allow savers to invest in Scotland’s renewable energy sector.
While plans for solar were not detailed fully, energy spokesperson Callum McCaig recently said “there will be a huge opportunity for solar deployment over the next five to ten years or so” as the country moves toward its target of 100% electricity consumption from renewables by 2020.