Offshore wind to help spearhead Scotland’s green future

» By | Published 21 Dec 2010

Scotland continues promoting its very aggressive pro-wind position as a way of driving increased energy security, a green economy and mitigating climate change.

The latest development occurred last week when First Minister Alex Salmond and more than 30 senior energy industry leaders met in Aberdeen to talk about the oil and gas industries and the renewable power sector collaborating to advance Scotland’s transition to a low carbon economy.

“Scotland already, per head of population, has ten-times the renewable energy of England but as the industry moves offshore we have even more potential,” Salmond told the summit Friday.

“Offshore wind offers massive economic rewards to Scotland with over [€118 billion] of investment planned across the UK over the next 10 years. Scotland has a long-established reputation for excellence in oil & gas exploration and production offshore and is now a key location for inward investment for those pioneering clean energy technologies.”

According to a press release, offshore wind alone could create as many as 48,000 jobs in Scotland — which is surrounded by water on three sides — by 2020 and contribute €8.4 billion to the economy over the next decade.

Salmond also noted that Mitsubishi Power Systems’ announcement earlier this month that it intends to invest €118 million in the development of offshore wind technology in Scotland will create jobs and might result in a major offshore wind turbine manufacturing site in the country.

Saying the nation could become the “green powerhouse of Europe,” Salmond added the aim of the meeting was to bring together the oil and gas industries and the renewable power sector to ensure Scotland capitalises on decades of expertise in offshore engineering as it forges a low carbon future.

“This will give Scotland a strong competitive advantage when it comes to securing investment opportunities in the rapidly growing green energy industry,” he said.

The press release quoted Adrian Gillespie, senior director of energy at Scottish Enterprise, saying that “we have reached an important point in the development of Scotland’s offshore wind industry. In less than five years time we will begin to see construction of some of the world’s most ambitious offshore wind farms in Scottish waters.”

According to the release, Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said offshore renewables present a massive opportunity for the engineering industry that has grown up around Scotland’s oil and gas sector.

“The expertise amassed over decades of exploration and production will be invaluable in driving down costs, ensuring healthy and safe working practices and in building the legal and financial frameworks to underpin development,” Stuart was quoted as saying.

“Synergies are building up between the two industries, with many oil and gas firms now setting up renewable energy divisions to focus on this new market.”