Aquamarine Power – a Scottish wave energy company – has created huge political ripples in the fall-out from the decision of the CBI to formally register its interest as an official supporter of the ‘No to Scottish Independence campaign’ organised by the Better Together organisation.
The CBI has long been hostile to both Scottish devolution and independence and Aquamarine Power announced over the Easter weekend that it could no longer remain a member of an organisation which is committed to campaigning for the United Kingdom.
Its decision may have wider ramifications on both its own business and the wider renewables industry in Scotland – which under the direction of the private-sector Scottish Renewables Ltd trade association has not hidden its opposition to Conservative-led policies on reducing subsidies for wind/wave industries and in light of the fact that the UK government sets the policies for subsidies to the wind/wave industries in Scotland.
Only last week, UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey declared in his ‘ Edinburgh declaration’ when he launched the UK Government’s white paper on the future of Scottish energy sector that ‘England and Wales is awash with wind and wave power.”
No official comment was made in reply to a request from Scottish Energy News for an explanation of the decision by Edinburgh-based Aquamarine Power, set up just under 10 years ago to market its Oyster wave farm technology and to ‘mainstream’ renewable energy.
The 45-strong team at Aquamarine Power is led by Chief Executive Martin McAdam, an ardent anti-nuclear power campaigner, who reportedly told the BBC:
“The CBI has registered with the Electoral Commission as a ‘no’ campaign backer without consultation with its members.
“As a business Aquamarine Power has been firmly neutral on the matter of independence. We have adopted this view after consultation with our board and management team and as a consequence we can no longer remain members of the CBI.
Earlier this month, Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Glasgow-based Scottish Renewables Ltd, a private-sector trade association, launched into the troubled constitutional waters with a pre-emptive strike, based on speculative reports in London-based newspapers which reported, non-attributably, that the Conservatives were preparing to jettison subsidies for renewable energy industries in their manifesto for next year’s UK general election.
- Meanwhile, Scottish Enterprise – the Scot-Government-funded quango which spends Scottish taxpayers’ money in supporting the privately-held Scottish Renewables Ltd trade association has also resigned from the CBI over its decision to register as a ‘Pro Unionist’ supporter.
- This raises further questions over the use of taxpayers’ monies by other Scot-Government renewables-related quangoes, such as Highlands Enterprise and, possible, various Scottish further and higher educational bodies.
- Scottish Energy News remains committed to discovering the true facts about these issues and will report further as and when information comes to light.
- Scottish Energy News has asked the Scottish Government for details of how many, and which, other Scottish higher educational bodies – such as colleges and universities, who may be actively involved in Scotland’s renewable energy sector through research, innovation, collaboration and spin-out private/ public partnerships and which are supported by taxpayers money – are members of the CBI.
- As soon as we can, Scottish Energy News will report these findings.
- Scottish Energy News is committed to reporting the facts on a free, independent and non-partisan basis.
- Readers should be aware that they cannot rely on other trade bodies and governments – which have a vested interest in these issues – to do likewise.