Oil and gas chiefs discuss way ahead for green energy

Oil and gas leaders met in Aberdeen yesterday to discuss how to develop renewable energy offshore.

Nearly 25 delegates from companies including Scottish Power, Subsea 7 and Technip gathered for the day-long conference to consider ways to reduce Scotland’s impact on global warming.

First Minister Alex Salmond also attended the event, which was led by Sir Ian Wood, chairman of the Wood Group, and Scottish and Southern Energy’s chief executive Ian Marchant.

Mr Salmond said: “Scotland already, per head of population, has 10 times the renewable energy of England but as the industry moves offshore we have even more potential. There is a world of expertise in Scotland, and that gives us a tremendous advantage which we need to maximise.”

Earlier this month Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe announced plans to invest £100million in the development of offshore wind technology in Scotland. Offshore windfarm projects could create as many as 48,000 jobs by 2020 and contribute £7.1billion to the economy over the next decade.

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

“This summit has brought together leaders in our oil and 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 industries.”

Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (Areg) described yesterday’s meeting as “very encouraging”. Chief operating officer Morag McCorkindale said: “With mutual ground between both industries, the application of oil and gas experience will help to accelerate considerably the deployment of offshore wind. In addition, new energy business will be won and jobs will both be safeguarded as well as created.”