Scottish and Southern and Mitsubishi to work together on wind energy projects

Scottish and Southern Energy plc and Mitsubishi (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd and Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe Ltd) have signed a strategic agreement to co-operate on low carbon energy developments.

The two companies will explore a range of technologies including offshore wind power, advanced technology for smart electricity grids and low carbon vehicles, carbon capture and storage and high-efficiency power generation.

The agreement builds on SSE’s establishment, last October, of a Centre of Engineering Excellence in Renewable Energy – in partnership with the University of Strathclyde – and should lead to up to 100 additional new highly-skilled, engineering-based jobs being created at the Centre. This is expected to grow to up to 1,000 jobs over five years.

First Minister Alex Salmond said:  "Scotland is taking a lead in the global journey to a low carbon future through our commitment to world-leading greenhouse gas reductions and to harnessing our vast wind energy and marine power resources and established expertise in engineering and innovation to deliver clean, green energy. I am very pleased to welcome this exciting new partnership between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, an industrial giant with historic links to Scotland, and Scottish and Southern Energy, the largest generator of renewable electricity in these islands. I’m also delighted that just nine months after Glasgow was confirmed as the location for the new Centre of Engineering Excellence, SSE expects up to 1,000 people to be employed here within five years, delivering a further boost to the city and to Scotland’s growing low-carbon economy."

Colin Hood, Chief Operating Officer of SSE, said: First Minister Alex Salmond with (l-r): Akio Fukui, Chief Executive Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe; Colin Hood, Chief Operating Officer of SSE and Ichiro Fukue, Senior Executive Vice President Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

"This agreement represents one of the most significant industrial partnerships to be established in Scotland since the heyday of North Sea oil – and low carbon energy represents Scotland’s biggest economic opportunity since then. As the UK’s broadest-based energy company, SSE has extensive interests and opportunities in low carbon developments, and our partnership with Mitsubishi should help us to make the most of them."

Mr Ichiro Fukue, Senior Executive Vice President of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, said: "I am delighted to be working closely with SSE on the important challenge of moving towards a low carbon economy. The two great island nations of the United Kingdom and Japan are providing global leadership in this field, and it is very satisfying for me to be building on the links between MHI and Scotland that were established in the 1860s by Thomas Glover. Mr Glover was a key person assisting the industrialisation of Japan through his support for the foundation of the origin of our company, Nagasaki Shipyard."

Mr Akio Fukui, Chief Executive Officer of Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe, said: "I am delighted to have the opportunity to work even more closely with colleagues from SSE in these very exciting areas of low carbon technology. The move to low carbon is a major step, and we look forward to working in partnership in Scotland, and growing our UK headquartered business."

Lena Wilson, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: "This agreement is of great significance to Scotland and its reputation as a world leader in the development of low carbon technologies. Scottish Development International has worked closely with both companies in recent years to help facilitate this partnership which will undoubtedly lead to new jobs, economic reward and exciting new innovations for the growing environmental and clean technologies sector."

Mitsubishi and SSE are working together to become strategic partners in low carbon electricity production and management and in low carbon transport technology. They hope to establish joint development projects, ventures, investments and supply arrangements through this agreement. Subject to the progress of the agreement, SSE and Mitsubishi intend to focus on, in the first instance, the delivery of renewable energy from offshore wind farm sites and the deployment of electric vehicles.

SSE’s plan to establish a Centre of Engineering Excellence in Renewable Energy in partnership with the University of Strathclyde was announced on 7 October 2009, with over 300 skilled professional jobs to be created by SSE over three years.

Today’s agreement is expected to lead to up to 100 additional new, highly-skilled, engineering-based jobs being created at the Centre. Employment at the Centre is expected to grow further – to around 1,000 over the next five years – as other suppliers of services and products related to offshore wind turbines development and other partners join SSE and Mitsubishi in locating engineering-related jobs there.

In May 2010, the Offshore Valuation Group, a collaboration of government and industry organisations, reported that the development of the UK’s offshore wind, wave and tidal resource could generate the electricity equivalent of the average annual output of UK North Sea oil and gas over the past four decades. Their report estimated Scotland’s total practical offshore resource at 206 Gigawatts (GW). By harnessing around a third of that resource, installed offshore renewables capacity could reach 68 GW (worth an estimated £14 billion) in Scotland by 2050, enabling the country to become a massive net exporter of clean, green energy.

Thomas GloverFraserburgh-born Thomas Glover founded his own trading company in Nagasaki in the 1860s. He was a key figure in the industrialisation of Japan and is credited with helping to establish the success of the Nagasaki Shipyard that later became part of Mitsubishi.