Investments in Scotland’s growing renewables industry have proven the strength of close working between public and private sectors, Alex Salmond said as he announced details of a two-day global green finance conference to be held in Edinburgh in September.
The Scottish Low Carbon Investment conference will take place on September 27th and 28th following the success of last year’s inaugural event, attended by around 550 delegates from government, low carbon industries and the financial sectors.
The First Minister announced details of the event in an address at the annual conference of the Scottish European Green Energy Centre (SEGEC), where he also welcomed a Skills Investment Plan for the energy industry – where as many as 95,000 potential job opportunities have been identified across sectors, including up to 28,000 in offshore wind.
He said: “SEGEC has played a key role in placing Scotland at the heart of EU networks and debates on renewables, carbon capture & storage and energy infrastructure. It has helped secure over 100 million euros EU funding for key projects such as the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre in Aberdeen and the Moray Firth node – one of the building blocks of the future North Sea Grid.”
The First Minister highlighted the importance of renewables to Scotland’s future economic growth and the role played by last year’s low carbon conference.
He added: “The economic opportunity in renewables is clear – with the value of the sector in Scotland now estimated to rise from £2.6 billion in 2007-08 to as much as £3.2 billion by 2013-14. The wider low carbon market is expected to rise from around £8.5 billion in 2007-08 to £12 billion by 2015-16 – over 10 per cent of the Scottish economy – and this potential was the focus of last year’s Low Carbon Investment conference.”
Mr Salmond also highlighted key investment from Mitsubishi, Gamesa and ABB, and the continued success of Scottish companies, arguing that Scotland must continue pursuing low carbon opportunities.
He said: “Scotland is already reaping the rewards of our active engagement, through our agencies and SEGEC, with European agencies and the commercial sector. However, there must be no let up in our efforts to secure an increasing share of the growing global low carbon market. That is why, as part of that work, I am pleased to announce the second Low Carbon Investment conference will take place on the 27th and 28th of September in Edinburgh.”
Mr Salmond spoke of the Energy Skills Investment Plan and highlighted the potential for 95,000 job opportunities. However, he warned that investment in skills was key and called upon Scotland’s education institutions, local authorities and industries to work to match his government’s commitment to 500 apprenticeships to deliver a “world class energy workforce for Scotland”.
The 2011 SLCI conference will again be organised by Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce with the support of Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government.
EU North Sea Grid Co-ordinator Georg Adamowitsch, who addressed last year’s conference, welcomed the announcement, saying it provided an excellent opportunity for those in the renewable sector to meet potential investors.
Mr Adamowitsch said: “The establishment of this conference, examining the financing and investment options for low carbon energy development, has been an excellent idea. Europe has very ambitious targets and last year’s conference provided a good opportunity to examine how the financial sector can help us meet them, with a range of investment opportunities. By signing a Memorandum of Understanding at the end of last year, the 10 countries of the North Seas Countries’ Offshore Grid Initiative shared the common goal of moving to a sustainable low-carbon economy and again this shows the importance of this conference. I’m sure the 2011 conference will be equally, if not more, successful.”
Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Ron Hewitt added: “The SLCI conference gives us an unparalleled opportunity to focus on the great opportunities that the industry offers to Scottish businesses and, equally, it provides a unique chance for all interested parties to come together to look at how we might resolve the considerable challenges of moving to a low carbon economy. The SLCI conference pulls these together from a Scottish, UK and international perspective in a way which helps business engage with what is happening in this exciting sector.”