By a Newsnet reporter
The Conservative-Liberal Democrat UK Government has been left red-faced after suggesting that there are no offshore wind ports in the North of Scotland.
The blunder emerged when an official UK Government document, ‘Offshore Wind Industrial Strategy – Business and Government Action’, showed a map with what it claimed were all of the UK’s key ports marked in red. However several key ports in the North of Scotland were missing from the map, which failed to include any North of Dundee.
This meant that many ports key to the development of the offshore wind sector were missing – including Nigg, Ardersier, Arnish, Kishorn and Campbeltown. Aberdeen, Buckie, Invergordon, Scrabster and Wick were also noticeable by their absence.
The blunder is particularly embarrassing given that Scotland boasts 25% of Europe’s offshore wind potential.
The blunder was compounded after it was noticed that the Orkney and Shetland isles were omitted in their entirety from the map, which has since been withdrawn by the UK Government.
Commenting, SNP Westminster Energy spokesperson Mike Weir MP said:
“It is astonishing the UK Government has failed to include such key Scottish offshore wind developments, and speaks volumes about the UK Government’s priorities.
“This is a particularly embarrassing omission for the Lib Dems Highland MPs – whose own government has omitted to include ports in their constituencies – either they are being ignored or they are failing to speak up.
“Scotland has hit the energy jackpot with over 25 per cent of Europe’s wind resource and is ideally located to become a major supplier of renewable power to the rest of Europe.
“Although this fantastic resource evidently isn’t on the UK Government’s radar, the Scottish Government is well ahead of the game. Wind generation in the first quarter of 2013 increased by 11.3% year-on-year – a record high.
“However, Scotland currently doesn’t have control of the Crown Estate Commissioners who manage Scotland’s seabed out to 12 nautical miles, and almost half of its foreshore. The licences – and revenues – of much of our offshore energy are therefore in the hands of unelected commissioners, with revenues going to the UK Treasury.
“Rather than leave these powers in the hands of the Westminster Government, Scotland’s energy potential can only be met with independence, and a Scottish Government with the full powers to prioritise our offshore wind developments.”