Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has welcomed the latest step towards the development of off shore windfarms In Scotland.
He was speaking after an announcement from the Crown Estates which set up exclusive agreements for companies to survey areas of the seabed to develop off shore wind farms.
However he warned that for Scotland to fully capiltalise on the renewable future the issue of new nuclear in Scotland had to be kicked firmly into touch.
Mr Gibson said…
"This is good news. The opening up of the seabed for off shore wind and other marine renewables marks the start of an new era in Scotland. This could see the centres of the economy move northwards and westwards."
"The waters off the Highlands and Islands hold the potential to help regenerate the economy on the land. Indeed many of the sites announced by the Crown Estate are in Highland waters. Facilities such as Nigg in Easter Ross could see a renaissance to support renewable investment and development ."
"However that future is under threat by the insistence of the Labour Party on both sides of the border that there must be new nuclear build in Scotland. This means that costly structures would be placed in the South of Scotland and means that investment in renewables in the North has a low priority for Labour."
"Rest assured, there will be no nuclear build in the Highlands because the figures and distances don't stack up. That in turn would mean the impetus to create jobs from new energy sources would be lost. Every penny which is invested in nuclear is a penny which may not been invested in renewables. In effect it is money which will be taken away from Highland and Islands development."
"It is not clear that nuclear power is cheaper than that of wave or wind. So in a way the Labour Party are condemning us to uncertainty whilst denying the North a chance to become the renewables power house of Europe with infinite clean energy resources."