Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth is inviting Japanese companies and universities to work with their Scottish counterparts to find new ways to meet renewable energy goals, move toward a low-carbon economy and tackle climate change.
Speaking at Tokyo University, John Swinney told an audience of business leaders and students that, as a nation with the world’s most ambitious emission reduction targets, Scotland was adopting aggressive renewable energy targets. This presents opportunities for an exchange of expertise in creating new technologies and, therefore, in investment, trade partnerships and research opportunities, he said.
“The economic opportunity presented by the move to a low-carbon economy is one of the mainstays in the Scottish Government’s climate change policy, particularly in the production of electricity from renewable energy sources,” Swinney said. “We have set ourselves one of the most challenging targets in Europe for electricity from renewable sources — 50 per cent by 2020 — and we want to work with innovative and groundbreaking partners in reaching this goal and providing the rest of the world with the technology to make the transition to renewables easier.”
Swinney noted the Mitsubishi Electric has recently decided to invest in a Scottish facility at Livingston, where it plans to produce low-carbon air-to-water residential heat pumps.
“This is an example of the work being undertaken with international and domestic partners to ensure Scottish skills and expertise are focused on developing world leading technologies to match our climate change aspirations,” he said.
Swinney added that Japan has great potential to avail itself of both deepwater offshore wind, wave and tidal technologies — sectors where Scotland is a recognised leader — and he called for collaboration between the two nations as Japan begins to develop its own offshore wind resources.
“The next 10 years will see up to 10 – 12 gigawatts of offshore wind developed in Scottish waters,” he said. “This represents a major investment opportunity for Japanese companies and the chance to gain experience in the development and operation of offshore wind farms.”
Swinney also invited more Japanese companies to take part in the £10 million Saltire Prize competition. The prize is open to international competition for the best demonstration of commercial-scale electricity production from marine energy in Scottish waters over the next five years.
“In Scotland, we are mindful of the fact that Japan was an early pioneer in the development of wave energy and would like to help rekindle this interest in marine energy in Japan today,” he said.
Scotland’s Climate Change Bill will introduce targets to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 80 per cent by 2050 and, before then, to reduce emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 — likely the most ambitious medium-term target of any country.