Scotland's vision of major renewable energy industry just got a bit clearer – Scotsman comment

When a previous Conservative government introduced measures that discouraged the building of onshore wind turbines, there was uproar from many supporters of renewable energy.

Turbines built by Scottish firm Nova Innovation could be installed in Indonesia (Picture: Nova Innovation/PA Wire)
Turbines built by Scottish firm Nova Innovation could be installed in Indonesia (Picture: Nova Innovation/PA Wire)

After all, onshore wind is one of the cheapest ways to generate electricity.

However, the reason behind the decision was not simply to placate ‘not in my back yard’ opponents annoyed by the prospect of their view being altered.

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A perhaps more significant factor was the chance to create a world-leading industry in other forms of renewable energy like offshore wind and tidal.

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With the UK having missed the boat on onshore wind – partly because of a head-in-the-sand attitude to climate change and its economic consequences, which enabled countries like Denmark and Germany to steal a highly profitable march – it made sense to promote the development of technologies with even greater promise. If money could be made while helping the rest of the world produce vast amounts of renewable energy, so much the better.

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However, to date, tangible signs of significant progress towards this bright industrial future have been few, particularly in Scotland.

So news that Scottish firm Nova Innovation has been awarded £200,000 by the UK’s innovation agency to look into the feasibility of building a major array of tidal turbines in the Larantuka Strait in Indonesia is most welcome.

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Scotland, thanks in part to expertise in marine engineering developed in the oil sector, has a real chance to create an offshore renewable industry to supply its own needs and those of countries all over the world that will increasingly be looking for ways to cut their carbon emissions. We would be fools to miss the boat again.

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