Independence will give Scotland the opportunity to enhance economic links with its nearest neighbours in Ireland and the UK, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing is due to tell an audience of business leaders in Belfast today (February 13).
Speaking at the British Irish Chamber of Commerce (BICC) annual conference in N. Ireland, the Scots Government Minister will highlight the benefits of independence for businesses and outline Scotland’s future relations with the EU.
As an example of inter-island cooperation, Ewing will highlight is the Irish-Scottish Links on Energy Study (ISLES), a joint initiative set up to examine how offshore interconnected electricity networks could be established to support the development of the vast renewable energy potential between Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Ewing said: “Scotland’s economy is strong and diverse. With the powers of independence future Scottish Governments will be able to focus investment at home and overseas, we will be able to give more targeted support to companies wishing to export for the first time or increase their existing level of exporting.
“One area where we already have a clear and thriving partnership is under the ISLES project. The cross border collaboration which is supported under the current European Union INTERREG IVA programme, can help Northern Ireland, Ireland and Scotland deliver our huge off-shore renewable energy potential including wind, wave and tidal.
“The ISLES objectives chime with the EU policy of moving to a single electricity market, and with our collective aims of maximising access to markets for our energy resources.
“The first part of our study showed there were no technical barriers to the development of an offshore electricity network and the next stage will inform how we can align our market, regulatory and planning frameworks in order to support future delivery.”