Scotland has a clear, competitive advantage across the range of renewable technologies, with an estimated offshore resource of 206 GW. This is of European significance, and its exploitation has been recognised as crucial to the ability of Scotland, the UK and the EU to meet their 2020 and 2050 carbon reduction targets.
The North Sea Offshore Grid is one of the six infrastructure priorities identified by the European Commission's Strategic Energy Review, and in his third annual report, published in December 2010, Georg Adamowitsch, the European Commission's North Sea grid co-ordinator, said that 'Scotland is a fine example of how different offshore technologies…..can be combined to form a coherent approach. To be able to use all these elements as part of a European sustainable energy policy, these Scottish renewables have to be connected to an integrated European grid.'
It is vital that we harness our renewables resources, and develop a grid infrastructure so that we can export the massive quantities of green energy Scotland is capable of producing.
A Memorandum of Understanding on a North Sea grid was signed by 9 EU member states and Norway on 3 December 2010. This has committed the signatory governments to work to identify and overcome the barriers to the realisation of a North Sea grid, and three workstreams have been set up: grid configuration and integration; market and regulatory issues; planning and authorisation procedures. The Scottish Government is represented on the grid configuration and integration and market and regulatory groups, and is kept informed of the work of the planning and authorisation group.
We will continue to work towards the development of an offshore transmission network, by making the case for commercial investment and engaging with the European Union, the UK Government, Scottish industry and academia.