First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday marked the establishment of the Scottish European Green Energy Centre in Aberdeen, by visiting the company’s new office and announcing the award of a European Regional Development Grant of up to £1.6m.
SEGEC is a new initiative sponsored by the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Energy.
The University of Aberdeen is also a founder member of the company and will host the project at its campus in Old Aberdeen.
SEGEC will play a catalytic role in accelerating the development, demonstration and deployment of new energy technologies, through its work in Scotland and with partners across Europe.
SEGEC's aims reflect the Government's priorities of sustainable economic development and combating climate change, and priorities will include marine energy, offshore wind, grid development, carbon capture and storage and renewable heat.
The centre will provide a team of specialist staff and a focal point for Scottish organisations seeking to influence European policy, undertake collaborative research and demonstration projects and access funding from the European Union.
Although based in Aberdeen, SEGEC will offer a service across Scotland.
SEGEC Executive Chair Duncan Botting said: "We welcome the First Minister's announcement and we have already started work by identifying and facilitating no less than three key European Recovery Fund projects that were delivered to the European Commission in mid-July.
"The partners involved with this process have commended SEGEC for the high degree of quality and excellence in service that we have been able to offer. Looking forward, there is a terrific opportunity to deliver real world demonstration and deployment projects of scale for Scotland to benefit our green energy ambitions."
Ian Marchant, Chief Executive, Scottish and Southern Energy said: "The Scottish European Green Energy Centre is another important step in the realisation of Scotland's renewable energy ambitions, which SSE is pleased to support. The key is developing and deploying the technologies that can harness Scotland's remarkable green energy resources, and this new Centre will provide a key means of doing this, involving industry, government and universities here and elsewhere in Europe. It is the kind of initiative that has to be taken and has to succeed if challenging targets for renewable energy in 2020 and beyond are to be met."
Gordon McGregor, Energy and Environment Director at ScottishPower, said: "We are pleased to be supporting The Scottish European Green Energy Centre, which has an important role to play in further establishing relationships across Europe that will benefit green technology and future developments in Scotland. Scotland has some of the best natural resources in the world for developing low carbon technology, and groundbreaking projects have already been implemented here. This year ScottishPower Renewables completed Europe's largest onshore windfarm at Whitelee near Glasgow and Longannet power station in Fife started a project to test carbon capture technology - a UK first. This initiative will help to ensure that Scotland can build on its strong position with further benefits for our environment, and our economy."
Alex Paterson, Highlands and Islands Enterprise's Director of Regional Competitiveness, said: "We are delighted that SEGEC has now been officially launched. Without doubt it will ensure Scotland maximises the opportunities afforded by the considerable financial support available through the European Union for clean energy and will support Scotland achieve its targets for increased deployment and use of renewable energy'
Professor Stephen Logan, Senior Vice Principal of University of Aberdeen said: "The University of Aberdeen is delighted to be a founding member of the Scottish European Green Energy Centre and to host the facility on our King's College Campus. An investment of £0.5M has been made by the University into facilities for the co-location of SEGEC, and the National Subsea Research Institute (NSRI). We anticipate natural interaction between these two key centres and look forward to facilitating the research conducted, which will drive forward the European renewable energy agenda."
Professor Jim McDonald, Chair of the Energy Technology Partnership said: "Scotland's universities are leading the way in world-class research and development on the low carbon energy supplies and infrastructure of the future. Scotland's top energy researchers are already collaborating together through the Energy Technology Partnership (ETP) within Scotland and across the world. SEGEC will help ensure a dedicated focal point for research collaborations between Scotland and the EU, where there are significant funding opportunities and challenging targets to deliver a low carbon economy. ETP will work closely with SEGEC to maximise the benefits of EU engagement and I fully endorse the work that the Centre will undertake, such a relationship will be unparalleled in Europe'