- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Inheriting the wind

The Scots are casting fortune to the wind — and hoping to reap big profits and benefit mankind at the same time.

“We are the windiest country in Europe,” said Paul O’Brien, senior executive for renewable energy development of Scottish Development International.

Mr. O’Brien was part of a Scottish trade mission that visited Washington last week to promote Scotland’s success in generating energy from wind power and other renewable sources, including the sun, waves and tides. Scotland, a country about the size of Maine with more than 5 million people, already produces about 20 percent of its power from renewable sources.

Mr. O’Brien and his associates met with officials from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank to discuss Scotland’s ability to provide clean energy to Africa and South America. Scottish power companies see profits in such arrangements, as well as a chance to bring heat and light to impoverished areas, he said.

“There are huge opportunities,” added James Wallace, a former deputy first minister of Scotland and member of the trade delegation. “The tide is coming in.”

Scotland has the potential to produce 36.5 gigawatts of energy from wind and 7.5 gigawatts of energy from the tides annually, which would represent 25 percent of the total capacity of the 27-nation European Union. Mr. O’Brien explained that 1 gigawatt (1 billion watts) of energy would produce enough power for a Scottish city like Aberdeen, with 200,000 residents, for a year.

Scotland still gets most of its power from nuclear plants and coal-fired generators, but Scottish governments from the former ruling Labor Party to the current Scottish National Party are committed to closing the nuclear plants and using advanced technology on the coal plants.

One proposal involves recycling the emissions from coal plants into coal fields without allowing any of the pollutants to escape into the atmosphere, Mr. O’Brien said.

EU-U.S. alliance

The European Union played its pro-American card at the United Nations, as the EU commissioner for foreign affairs called on Europeans and Americans to work together to face the threats and challenges of a world that is “likely to change radically” in the near future.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner reviewed the “dense level” of cooperation between the European Union and the United States in diplomatic and military engagements from Kosovo to Burma.

The European Union has deployed more than 70,000 peacekeepers around the world and provides the “backbone of the international community’s presence in trouble spots like Lebanon and Kosovo,” she said in a speech at the French-American Foundation in New York.

The European Union, she said, has “come a long way from the simple trading bloc” created 50 years ago and is today a “strategic partner for issues as varied as international terrorism, climate change, HIV/AIDS and for resolving the world’s most entrenched conflicts.”

After the European Union adopts its “Reform Treaty,” designed to streamline decision-making at EU headquarters in Brussels, the United States “will find us an evermore willing and able partner, better equipped to take an even greater share of the diplomatic, aid and military burden,” Mrs. Ferrero-Waldner said.

She also noted the both the European Union and the United States realize they need to exert a greater economic influence on the world to “shape the rules of the global marketplace for the future.”

“Together, we generate 57 percent of the world economic output and 40 percent of world trade, but that will not last forever,” she added, noting the growing clout of Brazil, China and India.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@ washingtontimes.com.


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