Edinburgh’s mixture of world-class science and technology research combined with its large financial and computing sectors make it the ideal location to exploit existing energy resources, develop the machines to harness alternative assets and plan the future energy network.
Low Carbon Sector
The Scottish Government has set a target of generating 50% of electricity in Scotland from renewable sources by 2020. This is one of the most ambitious targets in Europe and Scotland is currently well on course. Scotland’s potential renewable energy resource is significant; estimated at 60 gigawatts – enough to meet Scotland’s current peak winter demand many times over. This potential represents approximately 75% of the entire UK renewable resource and a sizeable proportion of the European Union’s.
The Edinburgh City Region is at the forefront of Scotland’s renewable energy sector due to its expertise in developing and bringing to market new renewable technologies, grounded in existing strengths in engineering and traditional energy generation. These advantages ensure that the Edinburgh City Region is well-positioned as a key influencer in creating a greener, more sustainable world.
Edinburgh’s renewable energy sector comprises a wide range of companies, ranging from multinational wind farm developers to sole traders engaged in the installation of solar panels. Business activities undertaken by the sector in Edinburgh include head office functions, manufacturing and commissioning.
Strengths of Edinburgh’s Low Carbon Sector
Edinburgh acts as host to over 230 companies involved with renewable energy, including the headquarters of 27 major developers and producers. A number of renewable energy companies headquartered in Edinburgh have penetrated global markets, while two of the world’s 30 largest renewable energy companies have a presence in Edinburgh.
The largest renewable energy companies by turnover with a trading address in Edinburgh are the wind energy companies Wind Prospect Development and REpower UK and the hydrogen fuel cell company Logan Energy. Other global renewable energy companies with a presence in Edinburgh include EDP Renewables and Vattenfall Wind Power both of which have their UK headquarters in the City.
Other new technologies developed by renewable energy businesses in the Edinburgh City Region include the world’s first silent, building-mountable wind turbine produced by Renewable Devices.
In the low carbon sector, Scotland and the Edinburgh City Region have a position of real competitive advantage; thanks to the proven innovation, engineering and development skills of a wide range of businesses at the forefront of renewable energy technology. These include; Renewable Devices, Artemis Intelligent Power, Wind Prospect Developments, Wind Energy, Logan Energy, REpower and NGen Tec. Overall the Edinburgh City Region plays host to a wide variety of businesses with established track records in bringing innovative new renewable energy technologies to market.
The key assets of the sector within Edinburgh are identified as the natural resources of Scotland (in particular the 5.8 gigawatts of potential wind power in the Firth of Forth); the skills base of the City (including the transferable skills of the City’s oil and gas companies and other key strengths in legal and financial services, which the industry will require); the research conducted by the City’s higher education institutions (in particular the University of Edinburgh’s research into marine energy) and the City’s infrastructure (Leith Port and Edinburgh Airport).
Edinburgh also has a particularly strong support services sector. This in turn provides opportunities for suppliers; the supply chain requirements of developers of the offshore wind farm sites including for; raw materials (e.g. steel, concrete, etc), components (e.g. hydraulics, gearboxes, etc), engineering services (e.g. design engineering, fabrication, machining, casting, finishing, etc), professional support services (e.g. legal, accounting, ecological, etc), operational business services (e.g. security, catering, etc), transportation (e.g. offshore support vessels, etc), workforce requirements (e.g. electrical and structural engineers, maintenance workers, etc).
The Edinburgh City Region is also strategically located proximate to the five offshore wind farm development sites in the Firth of Forth. These sites have an estimated capacity of over 5.8 gigawatts – equivalent to approximately 1,160 five megawatt turbines.