Scotland took a huge step forward in harnessing her renewable potential with two major announcements yesterday.
The announcement that Systems Europe Ltd (MPSE) is to invest £100 million in Scotland’s offshore industry was followed by news that Scotland’s renewable energy will be central to a North Sea supergrid that will supply the European mainland with Scottish surplus electricity.
SNP leader and First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed plans by Mitsubishi Power to invest £100 million in Scotland’s renewable future as Scotland also signed up to further development of a North Sea grid.
Systems Europe Ltd (MPSE) is to invest up to £100 million in an engineering facility based in Edinburgh to carry our research and development into offshore wind turbine technology.
Over the next five years, MPSE expects to create up to 200 jobs at the new centre. If the technology is successful it could lead to the creation of a major offshore wind turbine manufacturing site in Scotland.
Mr Salmond said:
“Scotland is a leader in the development of clean green energy and boasts a world-class research and development base that is pioneering technologies that will have a global impact on combating climate change. Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe’s announcement of £100 million investment capitalises on Scotland’s strengths in innovation and offshore energy generation.
“The decision will create 30 high quality jobs, safeguard 25 jobs and is likely to create 200 jobs by 2015. And as well as delivering new jobs and investment, over the long-term this announcement could result of the creation of a major offshore wind turbine manufacturing site in Scotland.
“Mitsubishi has strong historical links with Scotland, with its origins in the Nagasaki Shipping company set up with the support of Thomas Blake Glover, the Aberdeenshire pioneer of Japanese commerce.”
Scotland also took the next steps towards a North Sea supergrid connecting our offshore renewable electricity generation with the European mainland as Energy Minister and SNP MSP for Argyll and Bute Jim Mather, who this week was awarded Best Politician by Scotland’s Renewables Industry, signed up to an agreement with 10 other European nations.
Mr Mather said:
“Scotland is playing a key role in the development and deployment of an interconnected offshore grid in the North Sea. A North Sea grid will plug Scotland in to export even greater amounts of the clean, green energy which Scotland’s natural resources can produce in abundance.
“The Scottish Government is already part of a working group on North Sea grid connections and today’s Memorandum notes the substantial co-operation and practical support of governments across Europe to build a North Sea grid. Scotland will play a full and active part in the development of this crucial piece of infrastructure that will further help us transform to a low carbon economy.”
An offshore grid will allow Scotland to export its vast renewable electricity surplus to the UK and Europe, help cut emissions and ensure the future security of European energy supplies.
The Scottish government have called on the Tory/Lib Dem coalition to release the Fossil Fuel Levy fund, worth over £200 million and currently held in a London bank account, to be released immediately in order to help fund Scotland’s fledgling renewable industry.