The marine renewables summit meeting called for next month (December 2010) in Aberdeen, is a welcome opportunity for those in the offshore energy industry, local authorities and central government to galvanise into action to secure the potential of marine renewables.
Industry analysts predict that offshore renewables could produce seven times Scotland’s energy requirement.
Many will even argue that the offshore renewables could produce a bigger, longer and more sustainable boom for Scotland.Offshore wind is just one of the mix of marine renewables
One senior oil and gas industry figure, who has committed to switch to renewables, has questioned why fellow energy industry executives and the authorities have – as he sees it – been slow to react to the opportunities.
Has Aberdeen had it too easy and become complacent with the the oil and gas industry having been based here for the past 40 years?
Recent figures showing the drop in production from the North Sea remind us all that the life of the UK oil and gas industry is finite.
From sustainability of supply and also the economic vibrancy of Aberdeen, the trick will be to sustain the life of oil and gas for as many decades more as possible, while also ‘transitioning’ to marine renewables.
One thing that seems certain is that marine renewables will be big business. Asian countries have recognised that and – if we don’t build the infrastructure and expertise here to fulfil UK needs – it will be Asian companies that reap the benefits.
The alternative is that we commit seriously and, so the analysts tell us, there will be business a-plenty for the whole of Scotland.
Aberdeen – with its established expertise in offshore energy project management on a grand scale and with the world’s greatest concentration of subsea expertise – is the logical HQ base.
We also need to ensure that the city has the infrastructure to underpin that role. Remember Dundee lost out to Aberdeen as Europe’s offshore energy capital for the want of an airport.
We must ensure that we don’t miss out this time because of a creaking transport infrastructure (inadequate road network, slow train service or lack of direct rail to London, poor international flight connections).Energy facts