SCOTTISH firms are to be given the chance to gain a large slice of the massive growth market for renewable energy in Japan.

A new hub to allow Scottish companies to access Japan’s renewable energy market was opened in Nagasaki yesterday by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop.

The centre, called Scotland House, will be based at the Nagasaki Dejima Incubator in south-east Japan. The space is available for free to Scottish companies and stakeholders while they build relationships with the Japanese offshore renewables and marine energy sector.

Nagasaki has been identified as a major area for the growth of renewable energy in Japan, where the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster is one reason why the country is rapidly expanding its renewables capacity. Japan has pledged to be come nuclear-free by the 2030s.

The Japanese government has pledged the equivalent of more than £200 billion to assist the transition to new forms of power and is looking to deregulate the Japanese electricity market in order to speed up the development of new sources of power.

The Scottish Government has identified renewable energy as growth opportunity for Scottish businesses sharing their expertise with the Japanese. Scotland achieved record levels of green energy generation in 2014, with almost half of all electricity used coming from renewables.

Hyslop said: “The Japanese government now sees offshore renewables as one of the potential solutions to replace the 25 per cent of electricity previously provided by their

53 nuclear power stations

“Our objective is to use Scotland’s expertise to help the Japanese harness the vast energy wealth and the multiple benefits renewables can offer – reducing our carbon emissions, creating jobs and investment and improving energy security.

“Scotland's heritage is well respected in Japan. Over 100 years ago, Scotsman Thomas Blake Glover was instrumental in Japan’s industrial revolution which stared here in Nagasaki.

"Today we are in the middle of new green energy revolution and this new hub will open doors for the Thomas Glovers of today looking to use their green energy expertise and build business links in Japan at this exciting time.

“There is clearly a willingness and appetite on both sides to further develop our co-operation, symbolised by the offer of the Nagasaki Marine Industry Cluster Promotion Association for Scotland House to be co-located with them at the Nagasaki Dejima Incubator.

“Decades of innovation cultivated around the shores of Scotland are being deployed globally and transferred to new and emerging locations around the world, including Japan.”