Scotland – Offshore wind power summit

First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed more than 30 senior energy industry leaders to Aberdeen as they gathered for a summit to discuss collaboration between the oil & gas and renewables sectors to help accelerate Scotland’s transition to a low carbon economy.

Offshore wind energy alone could create as many as 48,000 jobs by 2020 and contribute £7.1 billion to the economy over the next decade.

Sir Ian Wood, founder and chair of the Wood Group, and Ian Marchant, chief executive of Scottish and Southern Energy, co-chaired the summit. It brought together representatives of many leading energy companies including Scottish Power, Subsea 7, Technip, Dong Energy and Vattenfall and was organised by Scottish Enterprise.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: "Scotland already, per head of population, has ten-times the renewable energy of England but as the industry moves offshore we have even more potential.

"Scotland is well-positioned to become the green powerhouse of Europe, with an estimated quarter of the continent’s potential wind power and tidal energy capacity and a tenth of its wave resource.

"This summit has brought together leaders in our oil & gas and renewable energy sectors with the aim of ensuring that Scotland capitalises on decades of expertise in offshore oil and gas engineering as we forge a low carbon future. This will give Scotland a strong competitive advantage when it comes to securing investment opportunities in the rapidly growing green energy industry.

"Offshore wind farm offers massive economic rewards to Scotland with over £100 billion of investment planned across the UK over the next 10 years. Scotland has a long-established reputation for excellence in oil & gas exploration and production offshore and is now a key location for inward investment for those pioneering clean energy technologies.

"Earlier this month Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe announced plans to invest £100m into the development of offshore wind turbines technology in Scotland. 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’s decision to invest in Scotland demonstrates how our country’s renewable revolution is gathering pace, supported by our unrivalled natural and human resources.

"The Scottish Government is committed to doing all we can to support Scotland’s energy industry and to ensure we enjoy the economic benefits of our vast natural offshore and onshore resources. The oil & gas sector makes a substantial contribution to our economy and this summit provides a valuable opportunity to drive forward greater collaboration between the energy industries to deliver sustainable economic growth for Scotland."

The development of Scotland’s Offshore Wind sector has gathered pace in recent months. with a strong response to the first round of expressions of interest to the £70m National Renewables Infrastructure Fund.

The Fund has received significant interest with 25 applications from a wide range of port operators and consortia looking to upgrade facilities to provide essential manufacturing, operations and maintenance infrastructure for offshore wind farms.

Adrian Gillespie, senior director of Energy at Scottish Enterprise said: "We have reached an important point in the development of Scotland’s offshore wind energy industry. In less than five years time we will begin to see construction of some of the world’s most ambitious offshore wind farms in Scottish waters. We are attracting significant investment from global players such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Iberdrola as well as major investment from Scottish companies such as BiFab and SSE.

"In addition, we are progressing infrastructure through our National Renewables Infrastructure Plan and Fund and look to make swift progress in upgrading Scotland’s most promising ports infrastructure.

"We know that developers are already building their supply chains as it is key to their project profitability, so we must act quickly to utilise our vast offshore expertise at all stages of project planning and implementation. This Summit will hopefully mark a step change in securing a effective and efficient supply chain based on our unrivalled offshore experience from our world leading oil and gas sector."

Niall Stuart Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables said: "Offshore renewables present a massive opportunity for the engineering industry that has grown up around our oil and gas sector, and likewise, the expertise amassed over decades of exploration and production will be invaluable in driving down costs, ensuring healthy and safe working practices and in building the legal and financial frameworks to underpin development.

"Synergies are building up between the two industries, with many oil and gas firms now setting up renewable energy divisions to focus on this new market, but this Summit will play a key part in accelerating the process of joint working between the two sectors."