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Salmond hails £3bn renewable deal

First Minister Alex Salmond has hailed a £3bn investment package in the economy by energy giant Iberdrola as “immensely important”.

Firms across a range of fields, including the legal profession, construction firms and contractors, will be among those to benefit, Salmond said during an official visit to Bilbao in the Basque region of Spain.

Iberdrola, which owns ScottishPower, has about 1,800 suppliers in Scotland, including renewable development company Pelamis and Scottish Coal.

Salmond said: “Scotland is hugely important within Iberdrola’s plans for the future and the commitment the company has shown to our country is immensely important.

“As well as the significant contribution to the economy through contracts, the wider Iberdrola Group has recently located the UK arm of its engineering and construction business, IEC, in Lanarkshire, creating 150 jobs, and taken the decision to locate the base for the global offshore renewables business in Glasgow.

“The company also signed a £700M contract with Scottish Coal, the single largest coal contract in Scottish history.”

The first minister said relations in the field of renewables can be “further strengthened” with the firm.

ScottishPower Renewables opened Whitelee, Europe’s largest onshore windfarm, last year and there is ongoing development of carbon capture technology at Longannet power station in Fife.

Iberdrola chairman Ignacio Galan said about two-thirds of the firm`s planned £4bn investment in the UK over the 2010-2012 period will be in Scotland.

He added: “In the future, we want to see many more Basque companies going down the same road, setting up new business relationships, promoting the transfer of knowledge and technology and, ultimately, creating new business opportunities.

“This will mean that Iberdrola will continue to be a catalyst for development in Scotland and the Basque country, two lands of great importance for our company and for which we have major plans in the future.”

Salmond also announced today that Spanish renewables firm Gamesa is to send a delegation to Scotland later this month to explore opportunities for investment.

It follows a meeting between Salmond and Gamesa director Jose Maria Ugusquiza. The firm has more than 15 years’ experience in the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of wind turbines.

Readers' comments (7)

  • Paid for by Scottish Money, I hope!

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  • In reply to Mr Wilson's comment, which I presume to be another suggestion that English taxpayers are subsidising Scotland, presumably he realises that Iberdrola are a private company? Therefore if you are a Customer of that Company, you're probably paying the bulk of it, whether you are located in Scotland, Wales, England or Ireland!
    Also, the whole Energy sector is benefitting from Renewables Feed-in Tariffs & Obligations, which are a UK reserved matter, so if there is an objection, take it up in Westminster.

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  • What benefit from Wind Farms? I'm speaking as a professional engineer providing value for money with efficient systems/schemes. What non-engineers and politicians dream up and commit us to, and Scotland is committing us to here, is not and never will be an efficient engineering system! Such works as these are just an unnecessary and massive burden on all taxpayers in the whole of the UK diverting scarce monies away from far more efficient and cheaper energy systems, even such renewable schemes as the Severn Barrage which apparently needs only a paltry £250m. to "subsidise" likely Planning Application costs, and many other critical infrastructure and welfare works.

    It is a fact that Scotland is subsidised by English taxpayers - the records prove it. I wasn't suggesting that what was happening with this project was otherwise. I don't mind Scotland building wind farms provided they use their own money. Like Damien! I think from its name the company sounds Spanish - how appropriate!

    What I object to is that, with the cross subsidies involved, Scotland is again obtaining benefits on matters it can rule on for works in Scotland which are largely paid for by England without any say so from the English from Westminster, yet they can rule through Westminster against any such similar works in England.

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  • Still don't see what you're getting at, I'm afraid. Must be missing something.

    I appreciate that the building of wind farms (and other Renewables) is "facilitated" by subsidies, which may be of dubious virtue to the economy as a whole, but again I note that Energy policy is a Reserved Matter dealt with at Westminster. The Scottish Government doesn't set these, nor does it spend them.

    Iberdrola are, presumably, choosing to build their wind farms in Scotland because it happens to be quite a windy place - why would they build them in areas which aren't windy? I note that there are windfarms in Cumbria and other parts of northern England as well - are those due to subsidy junkies in these areas of the country as well?

    I'm all in favour of putting public money where it is best spent (surely all professional engineers are?), and I'm not convinced of the economic case for Wind Farms either.

    As I said the first time, if your problem is with subsidies of Wind Farms at the expense of other (potentially more viable) generating options, then address it to the Westminster Government who have responsibiltiy for Energy Policy. I'm merely suggesting that your ire be directed to the right place.

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  • Oh, I forgot to say that one area where Mr Wilson and I do agree is that Scottish MPs should not vote on England-only matters at Westminster!

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  • Alan Sim

    Why do people such as Peter Wilson have such a xenophobic attitude to all things Scottish!? This is the United Kingdom Mr Wilson and the last I looked fiscal policy is run by Westminster. This story has abslutely nothing to do with nationalistic politics and everything to do with an elected politician trying to generate some oversees trade and improve the job market.
    Is the Olympic Park only paid for with English money?

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  • Hopefully my last contribution to this. In response to Mr Wilson's comment about subsidies to Scotland from England, some of the Government's own statistics cast doubt on this perception.

    For instance, in terms of per capita public spending, London receives almost as much as Scotland (£9005 vs £9032, based on Gov. figures published in 2009). Neither of those are the highest in the UK, but both are well above the UK average (£7675). Northern Ireland is highest with £9577.

    Secondly, in terms of public spending as a percentage of Gross Value Added (Gov'ts preferred measure of regional incomes), Scotland ranks only 5th out of 12 regions, at 45%. There are two regions of England which have higher spends relative to GVA, and another two English regions within 1.5% of this figure.

    So yes, Scotland has a higher than UK average proportion of public spending, but it's far from proven that Scots are "subsidised" by all English taxpayers - in some regions of England the public spend is higher, as a percentage of the total economy, than in Scotland.

    I'm no Statistician, but dare I suggest that perception doesn't always match reality?

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