Survey reveals Scottish companies' global reach

Scottish renewable energy businesses are working on projects worth more than £100 million in more than 40 countries around the world, new research has found.

Gaynor Jones,Aquatera director, advises on potential renewable energy developments on Gosong Island, North Sumatra.
Gaynor Jones,Aquatera director, advises on potential renewable energy developments on Gosong Island, North Sumatra.

Projects include advising the government of Japan, providing cranes to build wind farms in Morocco and South Africa and working with the World Bank in Chile.

The study, by industry body Scottish Renewables, has found that Scottish companies are behind schemes in countries as diverse as China, Russia, Taiwan and Cape Verde.

And their business has been worth £125.3 million across 43 countries in every continent, except Antarctica, with staff employed in 22 of those countries.

Orkney-based consultancy Aquatera has been involved in the creation of marine energy projects in the United States, Chile, Japan, Columbia, Peru and Indonesia while Windhoist, a crane company based in Irvine, has installed more than 4,800 wind turbines across the globe, from South Africa and Morocco to Australia and Belgium.

St Andrews-based SMRU Consulting is working in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, to monitor how porpoises and dolphins interact with tidal energy turbines and Glasgow’s Star Renewable Energy has installed a heat pump in Drammen, Norway, which now provides warmth for the city’s 63,000 residents and businesses.

Jenny Hogan, Scottish Renewables’ policy director, said: “This research clearly shows that Scotland’s expertise in renewable energy is in demand around the world.

“The stretching targets set in Scotland have meant our home-grown green energy industry has developed skills which are in demand on every inhabited continent, bringing investment and income to Scotland from across the world.

“Countries like Japan, Canada and Chile have seen the lead we’ve built up in wave and tidal energy and now employ Scottish organisations to advise them on developing their own marine energy resources.

“Scottish green energy engineering skills are in demand from South Africa to Norway while our environmental, planning and technical know-how is being used in Columbia, Canada, China and many other countries.”

Paul Wheelhouse, Business, Innovation and energy minister, said the survey shows the considerable global reach of renewable energy businesses in Scotland.

He continued: “Low-carbon industries and their supply chains generated almost £11 billion in 2014 and supported 43,500 jobs, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics published recently.

“Together with this new research from Scottish Renewables, the figures reinforce the growing importance of the low-carbon industries, including renewable energy businesses, to the Scottish economy and vindicates the Scottish Government’s support for the sector and the increasingly crucial role it plays within our energy mix and the wider economy.”