Saltire Prize Challenge
Early interest in the world's biggest ever prize for innovation in marine renewable energy has been shown by 33 registrations of interest from across the world since the criteria for the Saltire Prize Challenge was announced at the beginning of December.
First Minister Alex Salmond said today that the £10 million Saltire Prize would put Scotland at the forefront of the global development of new energy technologies in 2009 and beyond.
With installed capacity of renewables in Scotland having recently passed three Gigawatts, and consented capacity increasing that total to 5.5 Gigawatts, the FM said that the energy future for Scotland was very bright - and very green.
Last week, data for 2007 published in the latest UK 'Energy Trends' bulletin showed that renewable energy accounted for a fifth of Scotland's electricity needs. Electricity generated by renewables in Scotland increased by 18 per cent over 2006, with renewables now at their highest ever level. By contrast, nuclear power generation in Scotland fell by 13 per cent to its lowest level in the 21st century.
Mr Salmond said:
"Next year promises to be a year of challenge, but also one of great opportunity for Scotland. A focus on Scottish scientific advance and achievement will help point the way to a successful future for innovation.
"Nowhere is this more true than in renewable energy, especially with the world's biggest ever marine renewable competition - our £10 million Saltire Prize.
"In 2009 and beyond, Scotland is set to be at the forefront of the global development of clean, green energy technologies.
"Since we unveiled the details of the Saltire Prize Challenge at the beginning of December, 33 declarations of interest have been registered from some of the great companies and best minds in the world - all seeking to come and develop their new energy devices and inventions here in Scotland.
"Those interested come from five continents - from countries like America, Australia, South Africa, India and Mexico, and nearer to home from Italy, France, Norway and Spain, as well as Scotland and England.
"I look forward to these companies, and many more, submitting formal applications. And I look forward to Scotland continuing its progress towards a brighter - and greener - clean energy future in 2009, using our natural resources to reduce emissions, while our energy sector also makes a significant contribution to economic recovery.
"These past 12 months have been a great period for Scottish renewables, putting us well on track to exceed our target of 31 per cent of electricity demand from renewables by 2011.
"We have approved 17 renewables projects totalling 1.5 Gigawatts of capacity since May 2007. In just over 18 months, we have determined more energy applications than over the whole of the previous four years.
"Scotland's energy opportunities are being recognised internationally, given their global significance in addressing the challenges of energy security and climate change.
"The European Commission identified the North Sea 'Supergrid' concept - to export future marine energy surplus - as an EU infrastructure priority. And we launched the Scottish European Green Energy Centre, putting Scotland at the heart of pan-European research.
"The 33 registrations of interest in the Saltire Prize illustrate that our clean, green energy potential is a spark burning bright in the Scottish economic firmament."