Friday, 1 March 2013

Commissioner Speech Underlines What Scotland Brings to EU Table

A major speech by an EU Commissioner has praised the critical role that Scotland plays in Europe’s energy sector, underlining the importance of Scotland to the rest of the EU.

In a speech in Edinburgh, EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger highlighted Scotland’s potential as a renewables “power house of Europe" and pointed out that “few countries elsewhere can even dream" of the progress Scotland is already making in the sector.

The Commissioner also stressed Scotland’s place at the heart of the European energy sector, saying “let us not harbour the idea of Scotland as an outpost, perched on the edge of Europe. When it comes to energy, Scotland and Aberdeen is a major player."

Commissioner Oettinger also highlighted the potential that a European offshore electricity grid offers to Scotland, linking Scotland’s energy with everywhere from Poland to Ireland.

Commenting, SNP MSP Mike MacKenzie who sits on the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee said:

“Commissioner Oettinger is right to highlight the enormous potential energy resources that Scotland offers our European neighbours and the importance of getting the right infrastructure in place to take advantage of that.

“With such vast renewable energy potential available in Scotland, there is no doubt about the role Scotland can play as a power house of Europe, boosting our economy and creating jobs by exporting energy to our neighbours.

“There is real respect for the ambitious renewables targets we have set ourselves in Scotland and the substantial progress we have already made towards them.

“His speech underlines just how much Scotland brings to the EU table and why an independent Scotland’s continued membership is not just in our interests, but also in the interest of our European neighbours.

“It has become crystal clear – not least from events in Eastleigh – that the only way Scotland can secure that future role at the heart of Europe is with a Yes vote in next year’s referendum.

“Only the powers of an independent Scotland will allow us to pursue Scotland’s interests in the EU instead of seeing them set by a Westminster Government that is ideologically wedded to turning its back on our European neighbours."

Key quotes from Commissioner Oettinger’s speech include:

“The natural energy base in the UK is extraordinary by European, and even global standards. In the last 50 years, North Sea oil and gas have powered growth in the UK and beyond. In the future, wind, wave, and tidal energy could make Scotland a power house of Europe.

“Scotland's offshore renewables reserves alone have been estimated at over 200 GW. Today, we hardly see the tip of the iceberg: Around 5 GW. In Scotland, more than half of your electricity comes from renewable energy. Few countries elsewhere can even dream of this!

“Scottish energy means trade for Scotland. Electricity from here goes via England to the Continent. And with the European North Sea Offshore Wind Grid, Scotland could be linked into a Europe-wide network from Poland to Ireland.

“This has implications for Scotland's role in Europe. In fact, between now and 2020, the UK, and therefore of course Scotland, are dominant in assessments of Europe's offshore and marine energy potential."
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