ALEX Salmond was last night to use the keynote speech of his American trade visit to say that Scotland would become the “Silicon Valley” of marine energy.
Speaking to the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco, the First Minister was expected to say Scotland’s expertise in renewables would transform the country in much the same way that hi-tech industries brought prosperity to Northern California.
Mr Salmond was to make his speech at a venue that has hosted US presidents and is the oldest public affairs forum in the United States.
The First Minister was expected to say: “Scotland is a nation which has made a big contribution to the world in the past and has a huge amount to offer the world in the future. We are ambitious for the future, both for ourselves and what we can contribute to the rest of the world.
“I believe that developing the concentration of expertise, commitment and investment in marine energy that Scotland already possesses will make us the Silicon Valley of marine energy.
“That patch of Northern California that became known as Silicon Valley began by creating a community of technical scholars. Big business followed the skills and big rewards soon followed – and the same is happenning in Scotland in our marine energy sector.”
The First Minister is on a four-day trip that sees him take part in events in Los Angeles and Sacramento as well as San Francisco, which will focus on innovation, tourism and jobs.
He was due to add: “All 12 of Scotland’s major universities have formed the Energy Technology Partnership, which earlier this year agreed a unique collaboration with Abu Dhabi’s prestigious Masdar Energy Institute.
“Glasgow is the premier centre in Europe for offshore wind research, with Strathclyde University’s £90 million Technology and Innovation Centre a hub for researchers and industry to work together on pioneering technology.
“There are more different types of wave and tidal devices in the waters around Scotland than in the rest of the world combined and the Pentland Firth and Orkney waters leasing area is the world’s largest commercial scale marine energy site.
“We possess 10 per cent of Europe’s wave power resources and 25 per cent of its offshore wind and tidal resources – all with only 1 per cent of the EU population.
“Scotland is becoming the Silicon Valley of marine energy worldwide. Having been at the heart of the marine engineering revolution of the 19th century, we are now placing ourselves at the heart of the marine engineering revolution of the 21st century.
“As hi-tech industries concentrated in Silicon Valley and transformed the economic landscape of Northern California, so marine energy will do for Scotland.”