Renewable energy firms show global reach

Jenny Hogan

Scottish renewable energy businesses are now working in more than 40 countries around the world, new research by industry body Scottish Renewables has found.

Projects include advising the government of Japan, providing cranes to build wind farms in Morocco and South Africa and working with the World Bank in Chile.

The companies have been involved in projects worth £125.3 million in 43 countries in every continent bar Antarctica — and employ staff in 22 of those countries.

Examples include:

  • Orkney-based consultancy Aquatera involved in marine energy projects in the United States, Chile, Japan, Columbia, Peru and Indonesia
  • Windhoist, a crane company based in Irvine, North Ayrshire, installing more than 4,800 wind turbines across the globe, from South Africa and Morocco to Australia and Belgium
  • St Andrews-based SMRU Consulting working in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, to monitor how porpoises and dolphins interact with tidal energy turbines
  • Glasgow’s Star Renewable Energy installing a heat pump in Drammen, Norway, which now provides warmth for the city’s 63,000 residents and business
  • Orkney’s European Marine Energy Centre planning for the development of a wave and tidal energy industry in Nagasaki, Japan

Jenny Hogan, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said: “This research clearly shows that Scotland’s expertise in renewable energy is in demand around the world.

“The stretching targets set in Scotland have meant our home-grown green energy industry has developed skills which are in demand on every inhabited continent, bringing investment and income to Scotland from across the world.

“Countries like Japan, Canada and Chile have seen the lead we’ve built up in wave and tidal energy and now employ Scottish organisations to advise them on developing their own marine energy resources.

“Scottish green energy engineering skills are in demand from South Africa to Norway while our environmental, planning and technical know-how is being used in Columbia, Canada, China and many other countries.”

Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “This survey shows the considerable global reach of renewable energy businesses in Scotland.

“Low-carbon industries and their supply chains generated almost £11 billion in 2014 and supported 43,500 jobs, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics published recently.

“Together with this new research from Scottish Renewables, the figures reinforce the growing importance of the low-carbon industries, including renewable energy businesses, to the Scottish economy and vindicates the Scottish Government’s support for the sector and the increasingly crucial role it plays within our energy mix and the wider economy.”