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HIE Director says the low carbon economy is one of great opportunity

08 August 2014

Addressing climate change will offer the Highlands and Islands one of its greatest economic opportunities for 50 years according to the Director of Energy and Low Carbon for Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Calum Davidson will be part of a lively debate at the Highland’s leading music festival.

Sponsored by the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), events at the VERB Garden Tent at Belladrum near Inverness are designed to stimulate debate amongst festival goers, academics and invited guests. The Climate Change debate will take place on Saturday 9 August at 3:30pm.

Calum will join a panel which includes Dr Eddie Graham, UHI’s Meteorologist from Stornoway, Global Warming commentator Andrew Montford and John Shade, former fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society. The debate will be chaired by BBC Radio Scotland’s Gary Robertson.

Calum Davidson commented: “Debating climate change can often focus on headlines such as rising sea levels, extreme weather events and melting icecaps. Focusing on decarbonising energy generation highlights many other benefits. The huge renewable resources that our region offers the north of Scotland provide us opportunities to be a global centre in climate change mitigation.

“And whilst the North Sea and West of Shetland have huge oil reserves, fossil fuels cannot remain the main source of energy indefinitely. In fact, I would argue that Oil and Gas will become too valuable to burn.”

Mr Davidson continued; “In the Highlands and Islands, we have a rich vein of alternative energy sources in onshore wind, offshore wind plus wave and tidal developments. Our region is recognised as a world class centre for marine renewables with the establishment of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney over ten years ago. This offers world class facilities for the testing of wave and tidal devices. And this year, consents were finally given for the offshore wind projects Beatrice and Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd (MORL), both off the coast in this region. This is further recognition of the superb natural resources in the Highlands and Islands and also the ability of this area to service these early stage energy industries.

“Climate change presents an opportunity for the Highlands and Islands to lead the way in finding viable alternatives to fossil fuel. Green, clean energy is developing apace and not being part of it would be a missed opportunity for the Highlands and Islands.”

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