I will come on to say something specifically about the importance of this sector, particularly for the Scottish economy, but the important thing that I am trying to say about this SI is that it brings about harmonisation. Harmonisation is something that I am very much in favour of—I say, up with that sort of thing. Whenever it is possible—and it nearly always is, despite what we would imagine from listening to the noises from those on the SNP Benches—the people of Scotland expect their two Governments to work together for the commonweal and they want to see that partnering in action. This SI is a good example of that. It might not go down well with the SNP fundamentalists in the conference hall, but I am afraid that the reality is not always the perception that people want to hold on to for the sake of stoking political prejudice.
The second thing I want to mention is how strategically important the offshore wind energy sector is in Scotland, and this SI facilitates it. May I say how much I welcomed last month’s announcement of the offshore wind sector deal? It spells out the ambition of the industry and the UK Government to produce a third of British electricity from offshore wind by 2030. Environmentalists in my Stirling constituency say that the UK Government do not get enough credit for the work that they are doing on sustainable energy sources.
The sector deal clearly states the ambition to make the UK a global leader in renewables, with more investment potential than any other country in the world, as a part of our modern industrial strategy. It spells out the ambition of the offshore wind energy industry, with its investment of £250 million—including a new offshore wind growth partnership—to develop the UK supply chain, as global exports are set to increase fivefold to £2.6 billion by 2030. That deal will mean for the first time in our history that more electricity will be generated from renewables than fossil fuels, with 70% of British electricity predicted to be from low carbon sources by 2030 and over £40 billion of infrastructure investment in the UK. I am proud that Scotland is at the forefront of it all.
The UK offshore energy sector has massive potential. There is a significant appetite for new offshore wind energy, and investors are willing to put their money to work investing in Scotland. We need infrastructure and policies that allow development, and we need all levels of Government—local, Scottish and UK-wide—to be fully seized of the opportunity and the moment. The fact that this SI brings the different levels of Government together to ensure a smooth process for applicants and a fair process for interested parties is to be welcomed. It is to the credit of the UK Government and the Scottish Government, who are working together because by working together we can achieve great things for the people of Scotland. Seeing this SI through is what this Government ultimately stand for, in terms of our attitude towards making the Union work for all its people. I welcome the SI’s passage through the House today.