Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond and Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister David McAllister today discussed co-operation opportunities in the developing European clean energy market.
Mr McAllister arrived in Edinburgh yesterday, where he joined Energy & Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing for the official opening of new premises for Germany’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, Enercon, which is headquartered in Lower Saxony, and delivered a keynote address to the David Hume Institute at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Among meetings in Aberdeen tomorrow, the Prime Minister will hold talks with the Scottish European Green Energy Centre (SEGEC).
Like Scotland, Lower Saxony has a long-established manufacturing industry, as well as oil & gas production and a growing renewables sector. In today’s meeting the two leaders discussed developments in the generation and transmission of green energy, including the huge potential for offshore wind power around the North Sea, a priority sector for the European Union’s energy policy.
They also discussed emerging opportunities for co-operation on research and development, where there is currently collaboration on proposals to develop a European North Sea Energy Alliance in partnership with the EU.
The First Minister also accepted an invitation by the Prime Minister to visit Lower Saxony later this year.
The First Minister said:
“I am delighted to welcome Prime Minister McAllister to Scotland, where of course he already has strong personal ties. I hope that we can build on the Prime Minister’s visit to strengthen the connections between Lower Saxony and Scotland. We have had very useful discussions on a range of issues, including future challenges and opportunities around the provision of energy across Europe.
“As leading European energy hubs, Lower Saxony and Scotland are already channelling the expertise of industry and our leading research institutions to the development of clean energy generation and transmission. Both are well-placed to play a key role in Europe’s ambitions for a secure, sustainable energy market to power economies across the continent while protecting the planet. As we pursue the growth of the global low carbon economy, it makes sense to strengthen industrial and research links between Scotland and Lower Saxony.”
Prime Minister McAllister commented:
“The purpose of my trip to Scotland is to foster a closer relationship between Scotland and Lower Saxony that is mutually beneficial. Away from political talks and agendas, First Minister Alex Salmond and I were able to talk about opportunities to work more closely together in future. There is potential for our countries to work together and enthusiasm for, as well as huge interest in, strengthening relationships.”
Over one third of Scotland’s electricity demand was produced by renewable energy in 2011, with onshore wind and hydro the two largest sources. Scotland continues to attract significant investment in research and development (R&D) and manufacturing by domestic and overseas renewables technology companies and industrial conglomerates as it targets green electricity production matching at least 100 per cent of demand by 2020. A range of international utilities have already secured exclusivity agreements to develop plans for up to 10 GW of offshore wind generating capacity in Scottish waters by 2020.
Lower Saxony has a target of producing 90 per cent of its electricity consumption from renewables by 2020 and is playing a leading role in Germany’s clean energy ambitions, with around 6.6 GW (around a quarter of the country’s total) installed wind power capacity. Around 25 GW of installed offshore wind capacity is planned for the North Sea, off Lower Saxony, by 2030.