THE energy crisis has underscored the "imperative" for Scotland to shift away from oil and gas and accelerate the transition to net zero, the First Minister has said.

Ahead of the publication of a new strategy for the energy sector on Tuesday, Nicola Sturgeon said that the current crisis showed how “vulnerable” the current energy system is.

The draft Energy Strategy will provide a “route map of actions”, particularly focusing on climate targets set for 2030 as the deadline creeps closer, she added.

Environmental campaigners urged the Scottish Government to set an end date for oil and gas production in the plans, but oversight of the energy industry is reserved to Westminster.

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The Scottish Government will also publish the first Just Transition Plan and details of how the changes could benefit communities.

Speaking ahead of a visit to the energy technology research and test site, PNDC in Cumbernauld, the FM said: “The imperative is clear. In this decade we must set Scotland on the path to an energy system that meets the challenge of becoming a net zero nation by 2045, that supplies safe, secure and affordable energy for all and that generates economic opportunity through a just transition.

“The current energy crisis has demonstrated how vulnerable our energy system is to international price shocks, while laying bare the need for structural reform to ensure affordability for consumers.”

The FM added that the strategy will shape the next 25 years of energy production in Scotland.

She added: “It provides an independent assessment of the future of the North Sea and shows that as we reduce Scotland’s dependence on oil and gas – as both generators and consumers – there is a huge environmental and economic opportunity to be seized.

The National: The First Minister said the strategy would set out the next 25 years of energy production in ScotlandThe First Minister said the strategy would set out the next 25 years of energy production in Scotland

“Scotland is already at the forefront of the clean energy transition and our green jobs revolution is underway. By continuing to make the most of our vast renewable energy resource, we can deliver a net-zero energy system that also delivers a net gain in jobs within Scotland’s energy production sector.”

It comes as environmental campaigners called for ministers to set an end date for fossil fuels amid the worsening climate crisis.

They added that 2022 was Scotland’s hottest year on record, and the United Nations warned in October that the world was on course for a catastrophic 2.8C of climate warming by the end of this century.

With oil companies declaring tens of billions of pounds in profits last year, the campaigners urged the Scottish Government to help reduce energy demand and scale up renewables.

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Mary Church, Friends of the Earth (FoE) Scotland head of campaigns, said: “The new Energy Strategy must chart a just and clear path away from our broken fossil fuel energy system that is hurting people and the planet, and transition Scotland to a climate-safe future with clean, affordable renewable energy for all.

“This is a crucial decade for action on the climate crisis so Ministers must ensure that the plan sets an end date for fossil fuels and commits to phasing out oil and gas.

“Through a mass rollout of home insulation and boosting public transport we can reduce our overall demand for energy, improve people’s lives and help tackle the cost of living crisis.”

Church called on the Scottish Government to reject the “dodgy technology” of carbon capture and storage as well as blue hydrogen, which is made from fossil fuels, arguing that the tech is being pushed by the “profiteering oil and gas industry who want to keep us locked in this harmful system”.

“By putting workers and communities at the heart of planning the transition to renewables we can ensure that we create a fairer, healthier Scotland that can meet its climate commitments,” Church added.

Fabrice Leveque, climate and energy policy manager at WWF Scotland, said: “In recent years Scotland has made great progress in cleaning up its electricity generation, it’s now time to put the same effort into moving away from using fossil fuels to heat our homes and transport us around.

“We can’t afford to rely on volatile and polluting fossil fuels anymore. It’s vital that this new energy strategy sets out how Scotland can make the most of its abundant renewable resources, cut carbon, create jobs and help tackle the cost of living in a fair way.

“In particular, clarity is needed on how the power sector can support electrification of heat and transport and what plans are for decarbonising heavy industry.”

A ministerial statement on the energy strategy will be heard in Holyrood following topical questions on Tuesday afternoon.