Good morning everyone. It’s my pleasure and honour to join you for the opening of the UK Pavilion today.
The pleasure is all the greater for me because Glasgow is ScottishPower’s home city.
At a time of such intense environmental crisis and when the need to find a global path the Net Zero has become so urgent, I think it’s fitting that the eyes of the world – the hopes of the world – are now on the city whose name means “dear, green place” in Scottish Gaelic.
Here in the Blue Zone, right on the banks of the River Clyde, the docks and shipyards that once made Glasgow the second city of the British Empire now serve a different purpose.
They are – for the next two crucial weeks – the first port of call for action on climate change.
Over the last few decades, Glasgow has transformed itself from heavy – and heavily-polluting – industry to embrace the green industrial revolution. Something like 90% of the electricity we now consume in Scotland is powered by renewable sources.
That’s a massive change – and a great success story to tell the world.
At ScottishPower, we’re proud to have played our part in that transformation.
A few years ago, we were the first large energy company in the UK to go 100% Green. We closed our coal plants. We ditched gas.
We’ve focused entirely on building onshore, offshore and solar generation – yes, solar, even in Scotland – and investing in the grid to bring on even more renewables.
All of our investments – £10 billion in the next 4 years – are determined through the prism of Net Zero. Speeding up the journey to a greener future is at the heart of everything we do.
It’s taken us 20 years to build our current renewables portfolio, and our aim is to treble that in the next decade – at the same time as modernising our electricity grids to support the shift to green transport and heating and investing in battery storage and green hydrogen.
This didn’t happen by accident. But I’m convinced that the lessons of our experience can be readily applied anywhere in the world.
With the right combination of drive and commitment from government, business and civic society, the UK has shown how it can create the eco-system for investment in green infrastructure that delivers long-lasting economic, social and environmental benefits.
In the same way as delegations have come to Glasgow from across the world to learn from each other and to find the courage to take the next meaningful steps toward Net Zero, so too do we need the mass mobilisation of governments, finance, businesses and all stakeholders to deliver a lasting legacy from COP26.
I’m sure that Glasgow will do us all proud over the next fortnight, and I wish all involved in the negotiations every success.