SEPA has several direct and indirect roles relating to the energy industry.
We seek to advise, influence, regulate and monitor the effects of energy supply, transmission and consumption on the environment, human health and the economy. Our energy position statement gives details of our role and our view on key energy issues.
Since energy is a reserved matter, strategic decision making roles and regulatory responsibilities relating to energy issues such as security, affordability and market fairness are made at the UK Government level. For more information, see this overview from the Government website.
On 24 January 2017 the Scottish Government published its draft Energy Strategy consultation, "designed to provide a long term vision to guide detailed energy policy decisions over the coming decades" (closes 30 May 2017). This Strategy document is published alongside three additional consultations, which focus on specific areas of the energy system and complement the Draft Energy Strategy:
- Onshore Wind Policy Statement
- Local Heat & Energy Efficiency Strategies and District Heating
- Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP)
We support the Government’s energy ambitions through involvement in the Scottish Energy Advisory Board and its subgroups. In particular, we work closely with the Renewable Industry Leadership Group and the Thermal Generation and Carbon Capture and Storage Industry Leadership Group.
SEPA has direct duties arising from specific legislation and general duties or responsibilities under the Environment Act 1995. Specifically, we:
- regulate impacts to the water environment from energy generation under the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011:
- permit power plants and industrial processes under the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations (2012):
- regulate emissions of greenhouse gases through administering the EU Emissions Trading System (EU-ETS), the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme and the Carbon Accounting (Scotland) Regulations 2010;
- regulate the disposal of radioactive waste from nuclear power plants and other sources, under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (as amended);
- regulate waste management and disposal, including energy recovery from waste through anaerobic digestion or other waste management processes;
- act as a statutory consultee for development plans, many planning applications, and those applications that under Sections 36 and 37 of the Electricity Act 1989 require environmental impact assessment;
- act as a designated consultation authority for Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) under the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 and through the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes (Scotland) Regulations 2004 ; monitor impacts on soil, water quality and biodiversity;
- seek to inform and influence domestic and international policies, for example through our thermal treatment of waste guidelines and interim planning statement on energy and climate change.
SEPA also has remit not directly related to regulation, where we seek to influence the decisions, approach and direction of others for the purpose of furthering our core aims and objectives.