Scotland is positioning itself as a global player for the export of green hydrogen, which may be a solution to Europe’s energy independence, a renewable energy conference in Edinburgh has been told.
On Wednesday of last week, a trade delegation headed by the Minister President of Germany’s State Lower Saxony. E. Stephan Weil attended a renewable energy conference set up by Scottish Development International (SDI) and the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association in Edinburgh.
He was heading up a German business delegation which visited London and Edinburgh together with over 100 representatives from German politics, the business community, and the science sector, to discuss a closer economic cooperation.
Alex Altmann, a partner at London based accounting firm Blick Rothenberg and part of the delegation, said: “After Brexit important channels of bilateral communication must now be re-established as these are not available on EU platforms anymore. Bilateral initiatives such as the Lower Saxony delegation trip are vital to deepen political and economic relationships.”
Focus of the conference was the potential of Scotland becoming a centre for hydrogen production with the ability to export green hydrogen to mainland Europe. The conference concluded that Scotland has a vast potential to produce renewable energy and will require significant investment to ramp up the construction of on- and offshore wind power.
Alex Altmann said: “Germany is working on ending its dependency on Russian energy and is moving fast to replace oil and gas supplies from other countries. The visit of Minister President Stephan Weil to London and Edinburgh this week is a sign of requesting a closer energy cooperation between the two countries.”
Altmann added: “Scotland has 25% of Europe’s entire wind energy potential. With its immense natural resources, Scotland is positioning itself as a global player for the export of green hydrogen, which can be a solution to Europe’s energy independence. However, the UK Government must first position itself on its new energy strategy. The Scottish Government seems to have the edge here.”
The State of Lower Saxony is Germany’s fourth largest state with over 8 million citizens and a gross domestic product of £250bn. The UK is one the most important export markets Lower Saxon businesses with an annual trade volume of over £9bn. Over 40% of businesses in Lower Saxony say that they find it harder to trade with the UK after Brexit and wish to see the economic relationship improving again.
E. Stephan Weil, Minister President of Lower Saxony, met with several political leaders in the UK during the trip, including Lord Grimstone, Minister of State for Investment at the Department for International Trade, Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland.
Stephan Weil said: “Lower Saxony is the No. 1 state for renewable energy in Germany. We also want to become the No. 1 climate protection and hydrogen state. Our goal is to reduce our dependence on Russian natural gas very quickly. With its coastline and the available water areas, Scotland has great potential for the expansion of renewable energies.”
Weil added: “One of the two LNG terminals announced by the German federal government will be built in Wilhelmshaven in Lower Saxony. I very much looking forward to intensifying future cooperation between the UK and Lower Saxony in the field of renewable energy, learning from each other and exchanging ideas.”
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