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Scotland's lead in offshore renewables set to create thousands of jobs

25th May 2012

Wave, tidal and offshore wind developments have international attention.

Scotland is leading the world in the development of offshore renewables - according to two senior figures from development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

HIE Chief Executive, Alex Paterson and Director of Energy and Low Carbon, Calum Davidson were both presenting at the All-Energy exhibition and conference in Aberdeen on Thursday 24 May 2012.

Mr Paterson took part in the UK Offshore Wind Supply Chain Seminar - outlining the support Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise (SE) provide to the offshore wind supply chain - before featuring on a discussion panel of industry experts.

Mr Paterson said: "The offshore wind sector presents Scotland with a once-in-a-generation opportunity. The sector has the potential to create 28,000 jobs and bring 30bn of investment to Scotland.

"In the HIE area alone, infrastructure investments of around 35m have been made or are planned to support developments at N-RIP sites including Nigg, Arnish and Machrihanish - and discussions are ongoing with regard to support at other sites.

"The majority of offshore wind projects proposed in Scottish waters are in the development and consenting phase now, and already tens of millions of pounds are being spent in the Scottish and UK economies in advance of any consents being granted.

"Alongside this, the enterprise agencies have been working hard to ensure that the right climate exists to capture these opportunities and make sure that they leave a lasting impact.

"HIE and SE have worked closely with our international arm, Scottish Development International, to bring inward investors to Scotland, and two great examples of where that has worked really well are in bringing Gamesa to Leith, and Wind Towers Ltd to Machrihanish.

"It shows real confidence in Scotland's renewables reputation, and now is our chance to build a successful industry and achieve a lasting legacy from the development of this sector."

In a separate session, Mr Davidson will be providing an update to delegates on the world-leading wave and tidal developments in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters - following on from having taken part in a debate on Marine Energy Parks at the conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Davidson commented: "According to recent research undertaken by Scottish Renewables, with 11,000 people directly employed in renewable energy in Scotland, the whole sector is employing more people than the Scottish whisky industry.

"Scotland is known to have the most ambitious renewables targets in the world. By 2020, the Scottish Government is aiming for 40,000 jobs in renewables in Scotland, and we expect at least 10,000 of these to be in the Highlands and Islands - including several thousand in wave and tidal energy.

"Orkney is at the centre of an embryonic industry which could help power the globe. The world looks to Orkney for the latest developments in wave and tidal energy. The14 test berths at EMEC - the world's first and only grid-connected wave and tidal test centre - are now all fully contracted and new developments are appearing around Scotland's coastline."

These projects include the world's first shoreline wave device, Wavegen's Limpet on Islay; the world's first offshore wave device, Pelamis; and the world's first floating tidal device to generate electricity to the grid, Scotrenewables' SR250 - all of which have been developed by Scottish marine developers.

He continued: "Scotland is clearly leading the world in the development of this new global industry. We are the world centre for marine testing, with more devices deployed in Scottish waters than the rest of the world combined, and a growing cluster of Highlands and Islands companies supporting the marine renewables supply chain.

"In addition to the fantastic natural resources Scotland has, it is thanks to the fact that industry, academia and Government have worked so closely over the last decade that Scotland has the global lead in this sector."

Mr Paterson will deliver his presentation at the UK Offshore Wind Supply Chain Seminar on Thursday afternoon [24 May 2012], the second day of the UK's largest renewable energy exhibition and conference.

Mr Davidson followed on from his inclusion on the panel debating Marine Energy Parks on Wednesday afternoon.

The Highlands and Islands are being represented by 76 exhibiting companies in regional pavilions, including Orkney, Shetland, Caithness and Argyll - all coming together under the HI-energy banner.

The event at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre has attracted delegates from across the globe, with over 580 exhibitors from over 20 countries and 300-plus speakers.


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