A cooperation agreement with the French region of Brittany aims to strengthen Scotland’s position as a leader in Europe’s offshore renewables industry.

The Scottish and UK Governments have ambitious renewable energy targets, but the demand for increased infrastructure has led to concerns about loss of agriculturally productive land, especially in the north east of Scotland.

The Scottish Government has signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Brittany, the first of its kind for Scotland with a region in France.

The MOU will provide Scottish companies with opportunities to capitalise and share best practices on the expansion of offshore wind projects off the coast of Brittany.

A delegation of fifteen Scottish companies – supported by Scottish Development International - recently met representatives from Brittany’s offshore wind sector to discuss future collaboration.

The MOU will also instigate a programme of actions that will cover institutional relations, culture and heritage, education and research, fisheries and diaspora.

Separately, the Scottish Government signed the Rennes Declaration, which will build on existing cultural, historical and linguistic bonds with Brittany, Ireland, Wales and the Spanish Region of Galicia.

The Forum will also be an opportunity to discuss collaboration with other partners such as Cornwall and the Spanish Region of Asturias.

In Rennes, attending the first ever Celtic Forum, Deputy First Minister Shona Robison said:

“Scotland is working with our partners in Europe and this MOU and Declaration will help us collaborate across a range of topics.

“The people of Scotland resoundingly rejected Brexit, yet it has caused significant adverse impacts to our economy and trade relations. In spite of this, the Scottish Government remains firmly committed to developing partnerships with our European neighbours.

“We are keen to maximise opportunities for Scottish companies to learn from our Celtic partners as we look towards a future with cleaner, greener energy.

“Scotland’s rich renewables endowment means we can not only generate enough cheap green electricity to power Scotland’s economy, but can also export electricity to our neighbours, supporting jobs here in Scotland and the decarbonisation ambitions of our partners.”

Michael Hook, Business Development Director of Swift Anchors, based in Edinburgh said:

“We are keen to capitalise on the opportunities that we expect to see from the deployment of floating offshore wind in Brittany waters, so we applaud the steps being taken by the Scottish Government and Brittany’s regional government to establish closer economic and cultural ties.

“With the help of Scottish Development International, we have established good links within Brittany following a series of joint initiatives including Swift Anchors' attendance at the Bretagne Ocean Power event in Rennes earlier this year, where the quality of engagement and depth of interest in our anchoring solutions and potential collaboration were evident. Today’s agreement between the two governments gives us further encouragement to our business efforts in Brittany.”