The Scottish GovernmentScottish EnterpriseLloyds Banking Group
I am delighted Edinburgh is hosting the third Scottish International Low Carbon Investment Conference.
Scotland has hit the natural lottery twice, first with oil and gas and then with our green energy resources. We have astounding green energy potential and vast natural resources with about a quarter of Europe's wind and tidal energy and 10% of its wave power. This coupled with a legacy of excellence and expertise in the energy sector makes us especially well placed to benefit from the global transition to a low carbon economy. We have a responsibility to make sure our nation seizes this opportunity to create tens of thousands of new jobs and secure billions of pounds of investment in our economy.
The conference is a focal point for bringing together the expertise of our innovators, engineers and international financial sector, to advance our efforts to harness our massive natural resources and to deliver sustainable economic growth that can help drive forward the global transition to a low carbon future.
This year, the conference coincides with the arrival of the headquarters of the UK Green Investment Bank in Edinburgh. The successful campaign led by Scottish Financial Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise to bring the GIB to Edinburgh was the result of the collective effort across Scotland not least the business community and backed by unanimous cross party political support in the Scottish Parliament. I very much look forward to their contribution to this conference and the much needed stimulus the GIB will bring to the green economy.
There are significant opportunities for investment in green technology, aimed at tackling damaging climate change and to protect the security of our energy supply, as well as to help consolidate what remains in many areas a fragile economic recovery.
Scotland's low carbon market is expected to be worth £12 billion by the middle of this decade, representing over 10 per cent of the national economy, with the number of green jobs rising to as many as 130,000 by 2020. Globally, the value of the low carbon environmental goods and service sector has been estimated to reach more than £4 trillion by 2014/15.
Clearly there are many challenges in fully realising the huge opportunities presented by the global transition to low carbon economies, and the conference aims to provide a forum to debate and help tackle some of those issues directly.
Here in Scotland we can already point to significant recent success. For example in August 2012, DECC published figures mapping out renewables investment and jobs across the UK; these show that £2.3 billion of new renewables projects were completed in Scotland between April 2011 and July 2012, creating over 4,600 jobs.
These figures also show that Scotland's renewables sector has a higher level of projected investment and jobs pipeline than any other part of the UK.
Industry figures suggest that renewable energy now supports over 11,000 jobs delivering economic opportunities to communities across Scotland.
So we are well-placed, not only to harness our massive green resource, but to lead the wider global transition to a low carbon economy.
The Scottish Government and our public sector partners are sending a clear and unequivocal message to utilities, developers and to the investment community that Scotland is the place to do business. Building on our natural and human capital, we strive to maintain and enhance one of the most economically supportive and optimum regulatory environments for low carbon investments.
By bringing together government, finance, utilities and developers, the Scottish Low Carbon Investment conference will enable all sides to engage directly on the various investment opportunities and the challenges to be overcome.
I am looking forward to speaking at the conference, and meeting with many of you to discuss the enormous further potential of renewable energy and low carbon technologies in Scotland.
Alex Salmond MSP
First Minister of Scotland