Scotland looks to its seas to produce renewable electricity

Source: Marine Scotland

Scotland's seas could supply domestic electricity needs many times over by 2050, according to a new report out today.

The Offshore Valuation Study - a UK led report launched at All Energy in Aberdeen - finds the value of that electricity could be £14 billion by 2050.

The study is the first comprehensive economic valuation of the UK's offshore renewable energy resources to 2050. Key findings of the report suggest that Scotland's total practical offshore resource is estimated at 206 Gigawatts (GW). By harnessing around a third of that resource, installed offshore renewables capacity could reach 68 GW in Scotland by 2050. This compares to Scotland's current installed renewable capacity of 3.7 GW and could generate many times annual domestic demand.

Of the 68 GW capacity by 2050, 46 GW could come from fixed wind, 11 GW from floating wind, 4 GW from wave energy, 5 GW from tidal stream and 2 GW from tidal range. The net value of Scotland's 68 GW of offshore resource in terms of electricity sales is estimated at £14 billion by 2050. Equivalent to £2,700 per person, this is significantly higher than in England (£400 per person) or in Wales (£1,000 per person)

Energy Minister Jim Mather said:

"We have long known the huge scale of the low carbon opportunities in our seas. This independently produced report now validates our energy policy that favours our comparative advantage and further strengthens our view that Scotland should have better grid connections to continental Europe.

"The report is an extremely useful contribution to quantifying the possible scale of the emerging green energy industry. It finds that offshore wind, wave and tidal energy have the potential to meet our electricity needs seven times over, creating a vast export surplus while making a significant contribution to meeting domestic and European renewable energy targets.

"The report finds up to 145,000 jobs could be created, UK wide, in installation, operation and maintenance. With a high share of the UK's offshore green energy potential, I would expect a large number of the sustainable, low carbon jobs to come here.

"The report may even underestimate the scale of wave and tidal activity. We know it is a young sector but through the Saltire Prize, our £12 million WATERS fund and the work of the marine energy group, we expect wave and tidal to mature much earlier than this report suggests.

"These findings strengthen our arguments for developing our offshore renewable potential, for greater interconnection to the rest of the UK and Europe and for the development of offshore grids to connect and export offshore renewable energy from Scotland direct to continental Europe. We must seize these opportunities and will continue to work to make the transition to a low carbon economy a reality."

The Offshore Valuation Study is the first comprehensive economic valuation of the UK's offshore renewable energy resources to 2050. The study explores scenarios to develop the UK's offshore resources (wind, wave and tidal) to maturity in order to assess the long-term value from electricity exports, technology exports, jobs, returns to UK investors, and avoided imports. The Scottish Government has supported the study.

The study was led by the Offshore Valuation Group, a group drawn from across industry and government and chaired by the Public Interest Research Centre (PIRC), a not-for-profit charity. The Group includes the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments, the Crown Estate and eight companies across the energy sector.

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