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Maldives marine energy partnership

08/12/2010

Scotland will support the Maldives to develop renewable marine energy and go carbon neutral by 2020.

The partnership between the two countries will start with a study to assess the wave, tidal and ocean thermal energy potential of the Maldives, carried out by Robert Gordon University, a member of Scotland's Energy Technology Partnership.

After the study is complete, the two countries will work together in order to exploit the Maldives' potential marine energy. Marine renewables could provide a crucial component in the future energy mix of the Maldives, which aims build an economy powered solely by low-carbon energy as part of its carbon neutral goal.

Energy Minister Jim Mather will meet his Maldivian counterpart Environment Minister Mohamed Aslam at the UN Climate Change talks in Cancun today and the move builds on Scotland's desire to help developing countries cope with climate change and go low carbon.

Jim Mather said:

"Scotland is making a big difference for a small country. The Maldives aims to be carbon neutral within 10 years and this study will use our low carbon expertise to help the Maldives meet the challenges of climate change.

"Scotland is a leader in the research, development and deployment of marine energy, with a quarter of Europe's wave potential, significant planned investment in the sector and our unique 10 million pound Saltire Prize. This study, to be led by Robert Gordon University, is a most effective way to help the Maldives and let Scotland play its part in the urgent global need to move to a low carbon economy.

"In Cancun this week, I am promoting Scotland's commitment to working with developing countries on adapting to climate change measures. We are only one of a handful of countries with a formal strategy to integrate climate change adaptation and we are exploring wider opportunities with international partners to build their capacity to cope with climate change. This is complemented by existing work of Scottish research institutions, such as the Macaulay Institute's work in Kenya on ecosystems and water."

Environment Minister Mohamed Aslam said:

"This partnership with Scotland will help the Maldives attain its goal of being the world's first carbon neutral country by 2020. The Maldives is highly vulnerable to increases in the oil price, over which we have no control. Finding renewable energy solutions is essential for our future economic development and prosperity.

"If the Maldives can demonstrate that low carbon development is not just practical but also profitable, we hope larger countries will follow suit. As an island nation spread over a thousand kilometres of ocean, I believe marine renewables hold enormous potential to make the Maldives an international energy leader in the zero-carbon economy of the future."

Professor Jim McDonald, Chairman of the Energy Technology Partnership, an Alliance of Scottish Universities, said:

"I am delighted that the ETP and Robert Gordon University are able to support this very important piece of work. We believe that the Maldives, like Scotland, has a significant potential marine energy resource and we look forward to contributing our world-class expertise to this project and delivering real value to both countries from this collaboration."

The partnership builds on Scotland's desire to help developing countries cope with climate change and go low carbon. Scotland and the Maldives agreed a Joint Statement with the Government of the Maldives on cooperation to address climate change last year.

The Maldives is a chain of 1,200 islands and none of the islands is more than 1.8 metres above sea level, making the country particularly vulnerable to a rise in sea levels.

The study will cost £48,000 and will report in 2011. This study will provide a comprehensive assessment of the wave, tidal and thermal gradient energy potential of the Maldives and once the study is completed the Scottish European Green Energy Centre will work with Robert Gordon University and the Energy Technology Partnership to help disseminate the results of the study. Scotland and the Maldives will also seek ways to exploit the marine energy potential of the Maldives, including support from the European Union's Support to Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in the Maldives Fund, which is being administered by the World Bank.