Last week we reported on Scotland’s ambitious target to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2020. It turns out a major component of the plan may derive from another ambitious development – a tight partnership with Abu Dhabi on technology development and investment. Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond outlined the agreement today at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.
Why does this matter?
Both Scotland and Abu Dhabi are small semi-independent geographic entities who also happen to have a lot of oil and gas resources (just a wee bit more in Abu Dhabi). Despite possessing fossil fuel riches, both also have made ambitious and legitimate commitments to developing alternatives to fossil fuels – and are working on using fossil fuels as a bridge to get there.
By taking on investment, Scotland stands to move forward quickly in a variety of ways. More importantly, if any of the following are successful, Scotland stands to reap a windfall in both cheap energy and intellectual capital while the rest of the world crawls to keep up.
The main area of focus will be R&D to reduce the cost of offshore wind power. If Scotland can figure out how to make it 20% cheaper, the first minister reckons it will become cost competitive with other power sources. Additionally, money will be spent on tackling problems of both transmission and storage which also benefits work being done on tidal energy, Scotland’s other big potential resource. Additional venture capital investment across a spectrum of green technologies including Carbon Capture and Storage is part of the package.
Within a few months, more details will be known as to exactly how much money will be invested and where.
* Ed Note: Masdar covered travel to Abu Dhabi for 3p