Is small always beautiful or is bigger better?

Dr Keith MacLean, SSE

The policy context shows that there is: an unnatural pace, scale and technology mix required by national/international targets; a credit crunch; concerns over funding and costs to consumers; a desire to attract new entrants; and a drive to localism. Delivery against these issues will require the prioritisation of solutions at the required scale and pace, whilst giving the biggest ‘bang for the buck’; the need to distinguish between the traded and non-traded sectors; and a need to compromise on the multiple policy drivers. A possible approach could include action within energy efficiency and heat, given that most of the savings from these are within the non-traded sector, as well as action on electricity, given that this will become a major source of decarbonisation within the heat and transport sectors.  The reality is that public and political priorities do not always reflect economic rationality, which should be focussed on the non-traded sector; heat and energy efficiency with significant small scale and local deployment; and larger scale electricity solutions. More focus is also needed on finding the right balance of carrots and sticks to make small and community scale activities work and these should also not rely on people doing the right thing.

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