Scotland can be Europe’s energy powerhouse says Salmond

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has said that his country “has the natural resources and ambition to become the green energy powerhouse of Europe”. He also claimed that if Scotland […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has said that his country “has the natural resources and ambition to become the green energy powerhouse of Europe”.

He also claimed that if Scotland harnessed “just a third of its offshore renewable energy potential, offshore wind, wave and tidal energy could meet our electricity needs seven times over by 2050”.

Mr Salmond was speaking to senior bankers and executives at the Sovereign Wealth Focus conference in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

He outlined the vast opportunities for investment in Scotland’s growing renewable energy sector and invited delegates to attend the forthcoming Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference, which will bring together Scotland’s low carbon investment opportunities and financial organisations.

It will offer a platform for both the public and private sectors to collaborate and identify practical financing solutions for real investment opportunities.

Mr Salmond said: “With $3.8 trillion of assets under management last year, Sovereign Wealth Funds will play a hugely significant role in shaping the global economy and could present great opportunities for Scotland.

“Scotland has established itself as a global financial centre and there is also an opportunity for Sovereign Wealth Funds to benefit from our world-leading expertise in financial services and asset management.

Mr Salmond said that there were currently more than $945bn of funds under management in Scotland, accounting for 5% of all assets under management in Europe, making Scotland, he said, the second largest financial services centre in the UK behind London.

Mr Salmond added: “Scotland has the natural resources and ambition to become the green energy powerhouse of Europe, with an estimated quarter of Europe’s offshore wind and tidal energy resource and a tenth of its potential wave capacity.

“If Scotland harnessed just a third of its offshore renewable energy potential, offshore wind, wave and tidal energy could meet our electricity needs seven times over by 2050. A recent report estimates the net value of this amount of energy, in terms of electricity sales, would be £14bn by 2050.

“Capitalising on the economic benefits of Scotland’s vast natural resources requires massive investment in infrastructure. This offers the financial sector an attractive opportunity to make a positive contribution to our environment while securing sustainable returns.

“This government supports the creation of new financial instruments to allow the exploitation of renewable energy, which is why we will host a major conference to explore the issue this September.”

The Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference will take place on September 28-29 September in Edinburgh.