Fuelling independence? Scotland's oil hub embraces green
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By Elisabeth O'Leary
ABERDEEN, Scotland (Reuters) - Scotland's
leader Nicola Sturgeon launched on Friday a major renewable energy
project boasting the world's most powerful wind turbines, which she
hopes will also propel the independence ambitions of her nationalist
The 11 191-metre-high turbines in the waters of Aberdeen Bay will
eventually produce 312 GWh of power a year - enough to power 80,000
households - helping to reduce Scotland's reliance on its oil industry.
"Scotland is a world leader in energy and that is good for our present
and our future, whatever that may be," Sturgeon told Reuters, standing
on a ferry underneath the churning blades of the new European Offshore
Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), which is run by Swedish utility
The Scottish National Party she leads, which is seeking to maintain its
drive for independence from the United Kingdom, has embraced renewable
power as the center of its energy policy.
The party's emphasis on optimistic-looking future oil revenues was seen by many
as a key weakness in the failed campaign to win an independence referendum in
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The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) sits off Trump
International Golf Links Aberdeen, Scotland, Britain, September 7,
2018. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
An SNP strategy published this year removed oil from the party's baseline plans
for the economy, describing it instead as a "bonus", while renewables were seen
as one of Scotland's economic motors, with food and drink and finance.
At the same time, renewable projects such as EODCW enhance the SNP's appeal to
the 61 percent of Scottish voters who think climate change is an urgent concern,
according to a survey of households published by the Scottish government this
Sturgeon wants 50 percent of all of Scotland's energy to come from renewables by
2030, compared with an EU target of at least 27 percent.
Scotland's energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said the renewable power and low
carbon sector provided 49,000 jobs in Scotland, compared with 115,000 in oil and
gas, but the difference was narrowing.
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