Alex Salmond promotes green energy during Norway visit

First Minister Alex Salmond. Picture: Jane Barlow
First Minister Alex Salmond. Picture: Jane Barlow
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SCOTLAND and Norway could make a massive contribution to Europe’s green energy targets, First Minister Alex Salmond has said.

• NorthConnect scheme to connect British and Scandinavian energy grids

• ‘Many parallels’ between Scotland and Norway, says Salmond

• ‘Hydro heritage’ project to chart development of industry

During a visit to Norway, he highlighted the renewables links between the two countries today.

Initial work has got under way on a project to join the UK and Scandinavian energy grids, which could link hydro power from Norway with wind energy from Scotland.

The Scotland-Norway interconnector, which received an EU grant of about £553,00 in March, would achieve this.

Scottish and Southern energy, along with three Norwegian energy companies and Swedish utility firm Vattenfall are all involved in the NorthConnect scheme.

The Scottish European Green Enery Centre has also contributed a grant of about £40,000 to support early survey work, and a cable route study is now under way along with environmental studies in both the UK and Norway.

Welcoming the progress, Mr Salmond also announced the launch of an online “hydro heritage” project involving Historic Scotland and Norwegian partners, which aims to capture the development of the hydro industry.

Both Scotland and Norway are “blessed with a wealth of natural resources”, Mr Salmond said, and that the development of hydro-power technology between the two countries had “many parallels”.

He said: “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.”

NorthConnect chairman Odd Øygarden welcomed the Scottish Government’s support for the project.

He predicted a future with “huge levels of wind-based generation of electricity in the UK and the North Sea”, and said: “NorthConnect connecting the Nordic hydro-based electricity production with this wind generation will create a unique renewable quality in security of supply in the European electricity market.”