Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Salmond meets Gore in Edinburgh

Al Gore is coming.  Tomorrow. 

The two day Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference is taking place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.  The keynote speaker this morning was none other than the First Minister Alex Salmond.

Indomitably upbeat about just about everything, his optimism is, of course, based on a number of questionable assumptions, including a key one of the effects of carbon.  However, here are a few of the key points I noted.
  • His vision is the re-industrialisation of Scotland through renewables.  If I understood him correctly he referred to the former great industrial areas of Scotland being re-industrialised (he repeated the phrase with great emphasis).   The example he gave was the manufacture of wind turbines!
  • There were three (I think) announcements of new investment in the Scottish renewables sector.
  • There were the rhetorical flourishes about the great significance of the renewables revolution.  He talked of a once in a millennium step change being led by Scotland.  "The tide of history is flowing in evermore strength in favour of renewable industries"
  • He made the usual references to the groundbreaking leadership provided by the Scottish Parliament to the cause of reducing carbon emissions.  Twice he referred to the cross party support for this.  Ouch!
And from the rest of the morning's proceedings two facts stood out.
  1. The world price of solar raw materials (PV equipment, I mean, not the sun) has reduced significantly in the last couple of years making it a rather better.
  2. The renewables revolutionis under continuing pressure from the low cost of gas.  I was intrigued to chat to one industry practitioner for whom the prospects for shale gas appeared a revelation.

Just for the record, this is the second such investment conference. One of the many sponsors is Edinburgh Council.  I regard my attendance as a factfinding mission!

I hope to be able to bring you news from Al Gore tomorrow

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