It is only with the full powers of independence that Scotland’s energy potential can be released, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said today in advance of a two day visit to Norway. He will meet with a number of energy companies including Statoil and Apply and give a major speech at the Recharge Holmenkollen 2014 Thought Leaders Summit.
In his speech Mr Ewing will also outline that Scotland and Norway can play a key role in Europe’s increasingly integrated energy market, building on the two nations’ established expertise in both renewables and oil and gas.
Scotland, like Norway is a country blessed with staggering energy resources – huge wealth in oil and gas, and astounding potential for renewable energy - we have a quarter of Europe's tidal and offshore wind capacity and a tenth of its wave power.
Scotland is pursuing a target of the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs to be met from renewables by 2020, while maintaining the country’s long-standing position as a net exporter of electricity. Last year renewables met a record-breaking 40.3 per cent of gross electricity consumption, confirming that Scotland is on track to meet its interim target of 50 per cent by 2015.
Mr Ewing said:
“Norway is a great example of how, by using the powers of independence, it has not only developed a very strong energy sector, but via its oil fund has used its energy wealth to benefit the whole country.
“As set out in Scotland’s Future, Norway provides an excellent example of how a country can effectively manage its oil and gas revenues. They established their oil fund in 1990, the first net investment was modest and not made until 1996. The fund is now the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, worth around £470 billion. This is something we can strive towards in an independent Scotland.
“Building on our hydro heritage and offshore energy engineering expertise gained from North Sea oil and gas, our nations are clearly both well-placed to make a huge contribution to Europe’s green energy ambitions.
“Norway and Scotland have been blessed with a wealth of natural resources and the development of energy sector in the two countries has many parallels, with the exchange of ideas and technology taking place over the last century.
“Dam design and technology developed by Scots in the early 20th century were adopted for use in Norwegian schemes, while the growth of Norway’s nationalised hydro industry for public supply provided a model for the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board that was created in 1943.
“Also, the development of offshore oil and gas in the North Sea over the last 40 years has led to extensive ties between the sector in Scotland and Norway, and the successful collaboration between Global Project Services and many of Norway’s leading companies epitomises the benefits of these connections.
“This visit will take forward that spirit of co-operation between our nations, but also highlight the huge benefits to Scotland from securing the powers of independence.”
Scottish Development International opened an office in Stavanger in 2012 to build on the existing links between Scotland and Norway and develop new trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.
Anne MacColl, Chief Executive of Scottish Development International, who is accompanying Mr Ewing on the visit, said:
“Scotland and Norway have strong historical links, which have been cemented by shared expertise and success in areas such as oil and gas and renewables, as well as the seafood industry.
"As a significant investor into our salmon industry and our third largest market for oil and gas exports, purchasing over £350m of Scottish equipment and services annually, Norway continues to be a vitally important partner for Scotland. This visit will play a critical role in ensuring we fully exploit this potential, and position Scotland firmly as an ideal place with which to do business."