We need the power to engineer our own energy future but Scotland faces obstacles in London

It glided through the water off Peterhead like a massive mechanical swan. The towering turbine of the world’s first floating wind farm, which is taller than Big Ben.

A couple of juggernauts could fit in the “engine box” behind the blades. It is a miracle of mechanical engineering, a gleaming symbol of a new industrial revolution off our shores.

The giant windmill – and its four siblings in the Hywind project – will generate clean energy right here in Scotland, which has a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind power potential.

It may be the first of many, as offshore wind blows harder than the landlubber variety. That’s something of which we can all be proud. It will generate jobs as well as electricity.

But sadly, we did not manufacture these amazing edifices. The giant turbines were built, not in the deep sea lochs of Scotland but in the fjords of neighbouring Norway.

The spectacular pictures of the first manoeuvre were taken in the light of a cold Norwegian dawn as the tower was towed across the sea to Scotland.

The company behind the revolutionary wind farm are Statoil, the mainly state-owned Norwegian oil giants. Statoil have operations all around the world – another huge success for the Nordic country with less people than Scotland.

It’s another example of how the Norwegians have built on the oil wealth they and Scotland share in equal measure. Norway, a small independent country, kept control of its oil wealth, funnelling revenue into a national savings pot now worth £500billion. It also built up Statoil, owned by the people, and now moving into new areas of industry to help provide quality engineering jobs for future generations.

Read the rest of my column here.


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