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Euan McVicar, partner, based in the UK: "I think it is hugely important. Within the renewables sector, Scotland is seen as both part of but distinct from the rest of the UK. The Scottish Government's commitment to renewables and consistent strong messaging has helped differentiate Scotland and has given comfort to a number of investors and potential investors.
"The importance of consistent positive messaging cannot be underestimated. If familiarity with brand Scotland is the first step towards attracting investment, then positive progress is being made. Undoubtedly Scotland can be an exemplar - although investors are starting to ask questions about what independence could mean."
John Yeap, partner, based in Hong Kong: "The consistency of message is helping Scotland punch above its weight on the international stage. Scotland is a good example with no similar exemplar among countries in the Asia Pacific region, though Denmark is also well-regarded among industry participants in Asia Pacific."
John Yeap: "There is some interest in Scottish and other European renewable energy assets. It could come from both investment funds (including sovereign wealth funds) and companies that are directly, or indirectly, involved in the renewable energy sector. We also know of developer/operator clients keen to invest in the UK renewable energy sector. Sources are from, but not limited to, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Malaysia.
"Companies from the region are comfortable in investing in European countries in general, especially the UK. In the key renewable energy markets - namely Australia, China, India and Japan - Scotland is recognised as important contributor to the development of renewable energy markets globally. It is indeed viewed separately from the UK, and has a clear place in the hearts and minds of many investors.
"On the offshore side, the principal actor is China. It is slowly but surely developing offshore wind and is conducting some experiments on the offshore marine energy front. I believe there have been meaningful exchanges between Scotland and China on this front and this should continue going forward. The big challenge is that China is keenly interested in developing this sector domestically."
Euan McVicar: "What we see with potential investors in the Asia Pacific region is true of other jurisdictions too. We are seeing deals involving US private equity and increasing levels of both debt and equity being funded from Germany - a country which understands the asset class well."
Dr Ulrich Lohmann, of Pinsent Masons' Munich office: "There is awareness in Germany of Scottish and UK markets within the renewables sector, but this sits alongside development opportunities of a significant scale closer to home – such as private equity house Blackstone closing a €1.2 billion, 288MW windfarm project.
"One of the opportunities of a significant scale closer to home (from a German perspective) is the issue of connecting the North Sea windfarms to the grid. The provider in charge, Tennet, is prepared to invest €1bn euros, but €15bn euros are required. Insurers such as Allianz and Munich Re (both based in Munich) are said to be eyeing the opportunity. This would appear to suck up a big part of the available cash. The challenge for Scotland is to export its knowhow to that which already exists within Europe."
Akshai Fofaria, an Africa energy specialist who splits his time between London and the African continent: "It is different to Asia – things are moving more slowly in terms of renewables. Scotland and Scottish industry does appear to be emerging as a player, although its exposure has been mostly outside of renewables to date. RBS has a strong presence in West Africa in terms of project and oilfield financing, while Aggreko has recently been awarded a large coal power station contract in South Africa. The 'Scottish' brand recognition exists and will likely be increasingly sector-wide.
"Competition is strong in the more developed African countries, with large companies from Denmark, Germany and India all having significant interests. There does not seem to be much Scottish penetration as yet in the Northern African arena, but Scotland has relationships that it can attempt to exploit in West Africa, the sub-Saharan region, Malawi and South Africa. This presents quite a mixed array of opportunities and risk, from the micro aid based level, to large-scale commercial enterprises in a growth industry. Scotland's current position as knowledge sharer and advisor allows it to demonstrate its industry's capacity and experience."
James Elwen, Partner and Head of Pinsent Masons' Qatar office: "Alex Salmond's visit to Doha last October generated significant awareness among an influential group of potential investors. The visit provided the stimulus for a useful discussion which invited views on how Scotland's experiences in embracing the green economy could potentially be applied to Qatar and the wider region. Members of the Doha business community certainly were engaged and engaging when it came to discussion of the advantages of sharing of skills, expertise and research between the two nations."
Euan McVicar: "There is comfort in coming to Scotland and it is seen as good place to do business. However the amount of regulatory uncertainty affecting the UK as a whole in recent times has been unhelpful. Will we really see significant Carbon Capture & Storage or Offshore Wind investment until more is known about likely pricing under EMR? The investment community needs more certainty if large spending commitments are to be made.
"There is definitely risk around this market. Delays in policy decisions, such as ROC banding, and perceived lack of visibility on UK government appetite for certain technology types - for instance onshore versus offshore wind, solar and tidal - have definitely affected market confidence."
John Yeap: "There is a global requirement for a clear, consistent and fair tariff - and tariff policy. The most attractive markets are those offering financing mechanisms for renewables developers and, most importantly, a transparent and consistent regulatory framework, with safe, economic, stable feed in tariffs."
Akshai Fofaria: "This is already starting to happen. Scotland has renewables development aid provision relationships with Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda and Zambia. There is a significant amount of planned knowledge transfer through focused projects including wind, solar and marine attempting to support communities with the provision of technical assistance, education and funds where Scottish-based partners will be used to deliver. Coupled with this are recent political and trade visits to South Africa discussing the potential for further wind farm developments leveraging Scotland's greater experience in this area."
Euan McVicar: "Offshore wind seems such an obvious play. If we get that right, supply chain skills can be exported for years as they have been in the oil and gas industry. The chance to export Scottish knowledge of project finance is another key opportunity."