Risk and Rewards from Emerging Renewable Technologies - The Ocean Energy Case

Alyn delivered a keynote speech at a conference co-organised by the Scottish Government, Scotland Europa and the EU Ocean Energy Association as part of the 2013 EU Sustainable Energy Week.

See his full speech below:

Delegates, friends, Minister, Commissioner, I'm delighted to be here today to represent our Minister Fergus Ewing, who sends his best wishes for the event today and best of luck in your endeavours.  It is fitting that we celebrate and recognise just how productive our Scottish Irish co-operation on Ocean Energy has been, and will be, we're natural partners and firm allies, even if we can't agree on how to spell Whisky!

Glad as I am to be here, I do regret I can't be here longer, but as you'll have gathered from the sound of distant thunder from the Parliament, Sustainable Energy Week is this year coinciding with quite a few log jams coming free on long term EU plans.

We saw a provisional agreement on Horizon 2020 this afternoon.

We are hopeful of a provisional deal on Common Agricultural Policy tomorrow.

And overshadowing all this, the future shape of the EU budget, the Multi annual financial framework, might just be agreed in the coming days too, ending uncertainty over 960bn euros worth of expenditure, and allowing everyone to get on with planning for growth and recovery, which I'm sure you agree all our citizens, business and researchers want us to do, so forgive me I need to run back into a group meeting to help set our attitude to the CAP trialogue.

But please, don't take that absence as lack of interest or support.  As Scotland's only representative on the EP Energy Committee, anything I or my team can do to assist you, will be done, get in touch.

At a time when politics and politicians are sometimes accused of lacking vision, in Scotland we've got it in spades.

We want nothing less than to put Scotland at the centre of the Green Universe.

Now, not Irish Green, Minister, don't worry, I think our Celtic Cousins have that one sewn up, but as Europe's Green Powerhouse.

We have the energies of the past and present, Coal, Oil and Gas, the energies of the future, wind, wave, biomass, biofuels, geothermal, photovoltaic.  In spades.

We've plenty targets, and we're on course to achieve the big one, 100% of Scotland's electricity demand to be met from renewables by 2020, barely 7 years away, with an interim target of 50% by 2015.

On Ocean Energy in particular, you've already heard today about the world leading facilities we have on Orkney and Islay, with more to come.

And if you take away no other message from me today than this, its that Scotland has 25% of Europe's offshore wind and tidal potential, and 10% of its wave energy capacity.

As a country of 5 and a half million people, we have a disproportionate national and commercial interest in multinational and multilateral co-operation.  We need EU action to facilitate, encourage and support development.

We have achieved much, but we'll achieve more working together.  At a time when you might not be used to hearing messages of collaboration and co-operation coming from the islands to the North West of the European Mainland, do please, be in no doubt, Scotland is and will be a constructive European partner.

And that's where the EU needs to step up, and match our ambition with action, not just words.

There's been no lack of verbal support, and that's good, more please.  The launch in Dublin of the revised SET plan was a critical step, let's see more of that.  Crucially, we need to see, and hopefully this week we'll all have a bit more clarity on budgets, financial support as well to match the warm words.

Because we've not seen any explicit commitment from the Commission to provide financial support towards commercialisation of Ocean Energy by 2025.

I hope that once we get the MFF past us and a bit of clarity into budgets, we'll see the sort of long term vision that Ocean Energy needs.  Because there's no shortage of practical barriers to progress in this exciting new technology, the legislative barriers and are being brought down, but access to finance remains a major problem.

And this is already a European success story, we're already working across borders within the EU and outwith, to achieve more together than we could, any country, achieve acting alone.

We have seen progress, and I was delighted to help the EUOEA Association launch their Vision paper a few months ago.  At a time when the EU could do with a few success stories, Ocean Energy is one and could do even better.

For my part, I'll do all I can to help.  I wish you well with today's discussions.