The Energy and Climate Change Group (ECCG) met on the 3 – 4 October. The meeting began with a tour of different renewable energy sites in the region and a visit to a local whiskey distillery.

The following morning the meeting continued with a presentation by Jenny Thomsen, Project Advisor for the Interreg North Sea Region Programme (NSRP). The NSRP’s presentation highlighted the specific regions covered by the program, showing key facts and figures regarding the financial size and scope of the programme, the number and types of projects approved, but also giving an indication of the remaining levels of funding for future projects.

The participants had a round-table discussion focussing on specific regional actions around climate emergency declarations, changes to governance, new energy/climate change mitigation and adaptation projects to provide an understanding of what other national and regional governments are working with in response to the demands of climate change action. Furthermore, an update was provided of the development of the NSC strategy 2030.

The Highland Council – working with climate and ecological emergency & energy landscape

Keith Masson, Climate Change Officer at The Highland Council, had a intresting presentation on the region’s response to the climate and ecological emergency, which was declared in May 2019.  The region’s key focuses and challenges are to achieve a net zero region by 2025, developing solutions to problems around energy consumption, especially electricity, achieving buy-in from senior & middle-management to climate action and reducing the carbon footprint from a large energy-inefficient estate. The way forward will focus on baselining the emissions from the region, developing the role of the Council’s Climate Change Panel, identifying appropriate resources to drive the climate and ecological emergency work and to development of a place-based partnership approach to climate change adaptation.

During the last part of the meeting, David Cowie, Principal Planner at The Highland Council, talked about the energy landscape in the Highland region. The key points raised was the size and scale of the region, the extent of renewable energy installations including hydro and wind, the likely focus on offshore wind going forward. Additionally, Cowie gave an update on current Highland Council projects, including large solar PV developments, small hydro and the region’s new waste recovery facility.

For more information, Contact NSC Advisor Claudia Cowie (