SNP to show Europe Scotland's energy innovation

06 June 2006
The SNP today launched the programme for the European Energy Commissioner's summer visit to Scotland during a visit to the BIFAB plant in Fife.

Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will spend two days in Scotland, with MEP Alyn Smith, to see the potential Scotland has in renewables and new energy technologies.

Mr Smith was joined at BIFAB in Methil, where fabrication has been taking place for the substructure jackets and associated foundation piles for the Beatrice Wind Farm Demonstrator Project, by European Committee Member Bruce Crawford MSP and Fife based MSP Tricia Marwick.

The Energy Commissioner was invited to Scotland by Mr Smith and will be hosted by Talisman Energy (UK) Limited and Scottish and Southern Energy, the co-venturers in the Beatrice Project, during the visit.

Speaking from BIFAB at Methil Mr Smith said

"It is an honour to have the Commissioner coming to Scotland to see what Scotland can contribute to the debate on the future of energy provision.

"This is Scotland's chance to shine - to show that we can be the renewable energy capital of Europe and to show that Scotland is the perfect location for an EU Energy Centre.

"Commissioner Piebalgs will see Scotland's groundbreaking projects as well as meet key players in Scotland's Energy industry.

"The work undertaken here in Fife shows how significant the Energy industry is to Scotland, what it means to our economy not just in the North East but Scotland wide. This is a highly significant and important opportunity for Scotland."

"At a time when all the UK government can do is talk up nuclear this visit highlights the alternative route available to Scotland."

MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife Tricia Marwick said

"The people who have worked on the Beatrice project here in Fife are contributing to a national project that offers huge potential for Scotland. It's not just the Moray Firth that can benefit from this project.

"It is important that the skills based here, are put to use building an energy future for Scotland and demonstrating our world class ability to the rest of Europe.

"The Commissioner's visit presents a turning point for Scotland, we must grasp this opportunity to take control of our energy future by showing that we have the resources and the expertise to harvest those resources."

Fellow Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP Bruce Crawford, who is on the Scottish Parliament's European Committee also welcomed the visit which coincides with a parliamentary inquiry into Energy efficiency;

The Commissioner's visit is perfectly timed to bring Scotland into this energy debate. Just because Scotland does not have control of her own energy supplies does not mean our voice shouldn't be heard. There is a lot Scotland can teach Europe and a lot that we can learn as well.

"Europe has issued a green paper on Energy and the Committee is looking at one strand of that paper. We have launched an inquiry on energy efficiency which will look at what works in Scotland and what we can learn from elsewhere in the EU.

"It is a disgrace that with all our natural resources the government is talking about new nuclear power stations while our neighbours on the continent particularly in Scandinavia and the Mediterranean are powering ahead with new technologies.

"In Scotland there is a lack of support for groundbreaking work. Those companies investing in new technologies, like Talisman, are to be praised for their work so far - but we must offer more support.

"I congratulate Alyn on securing this visit and urge the Energy industry across Scotland to take this opportunity to join the Europe wide Energy debate."

Note to Editors

The £24 million Demonstrator Project will be installed adjacent to Talisman's Beatrice oilfield, 25 kilometres off the east coast of Scotland. It will use two of the largest turbines installed anywhere in the world to test the technical and economic feasibility of deepwater wind farms in depths of 35 to 45 metres.