EU energy commissioner to see best of Scotland

17 July 2006
European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will begin a two day tour of Scotland's Energy industry with the Scottish National Party tomorrow (Monday).

Commissioner Piebalgs has been invited to Scotland by the SNP's European Spokesman Alyn Smith MEP and will spend two days with Mr Smith seeing Scotland's potential as the Renewable and Clean Energy capital of Europe.

The Commissioner will also meet a number of energy stakeholders, SNP leader Alex Salmond MP and Energy Spokesman Richard Lochhead MSP. The Deputy First Minister will join the second day of the visit.

Speaking ahead of the visit Alyn Smith MEP, who will be escorting the Commissioner said

"This is a golden opportunity for Scotland to show how important we could be to the future of European Energy supplies and how important Energy is to Scotland.

"Energy is the hot topic across Europe and we in Scotland have the potential to make a real difference. By rejecting nuclear and developing new clean coal, renewable and biomass technologies we could be a European leader.

"As Europe's dominant oil producer with the largest potential renewable resource and the home of some of the best and most innovative energy projects Scotland is a real global energy player. This visit will ensure Scotland's voice is heard at the heart of Europe.

"It is a privilege to be escorting the Commissioner on his visit to Scotland. As a Latvian he appreciates the role of small countries in the European Union and how important we are to the future of the EU and to the future of European energy policy."

Shadow Energy Minister Richard Lochhead MSP said

"Bringing the Commissioner to Scotland at this time is key to building a Scottish influence on EU Energy policy.

"The SNP have clearly stated where we want to see Energy policy heading. An SNP government will mean a non-nuclear, clean and green future for energy production in Scotland.

"Scotland produces 6 times more energy than it uses, that makes us unique among EU countries, and with the largest oil resource in the EU Scotland must be central to European energy plans.

"The SNP's energy review released last week was the first step to that clean energy future, bringing the European Commissioner to Scotland shows how serious we are about making Scotland the renewable energy capital of Europe, if not the world." The Commissioners visit follows the publication of the SNP's Energy review last week and coincides with the European Commission's consultation on a European Energy Strategy.

Energy companies Scottish and Southern Energy and Talisman have assisted with the visit.

Highlights of the Commissioner's two day visit include

  • Viewing the electricity grid and trading system and visiting SSE's Sustainable energy house
  • Helicopter overview of Scotland's hydro schemes
  • Presentation on Clean Coal Technology in Scotland
  • Lunch with Scotland's island councils and fuel poverty campaigners
  • Meeting with Alex Salmond MP and Richard Lochhead MSP
  • Visit to Beatrice Oil Platform
  • Helicopter overview of Beatrice Downvind Demonstrator Project (off shore wind farm) site
  • Wind turbine construction at the Nigg Yard

A press conference with Commissioner Piebalgs will be held at the Nigg Yard on Tuesday 18th July.