Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond is today launching a multi-million pound renewable energy investment fund amid criticism that government’s green energy plans are at odds with North Sea oil operations.
According to an article in the Guardian newspaper, the Scottish Government’s plans to sell 12-24 billion barrels of oil and gas over the next 40 years could lead to emissions of up to 10 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.
But the Scottish Government maintains that exports of fossil fuels, some of which are covered by the European Union’s Emissions Trading System, have no bearing on its plans to generate the equivalent of 100% of its domestic electricity demand from renewables by 2020.
Supporting that target will be the renewable energy investment fund (REIF), which is aimed at stimulating private investment in renewable energy, particularly wind, tidal and community-owned developments, and district heating projects.
“This fund will help leverage further significant private finance into key areas of the renewables sector where specific funding gaps have been identified,” explains Salmond.
The announcement has been welcomed across the renewables and financial sector. Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, says the fund will inject much-needed funds into marine energy and renewable heat.
“This kind of support can be a vital catalyst in attracting even greater levels of private investment,” he says. “Scotland is already at the forefront of… emerging wave and tidal technologies and, with the correct level of government support, we can become a global centre of excellence in both the deployment of these technologies and their supply chains.”
The Scottish Investment Bank will administer the fund on behalf of the Scottish Government and enterprise agencies, and expects to announce the first deals by the end of the year.
UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey is also visiting the region this week to highlight the benefits in terms of jobs and business that the energy sector can bring to the Scottish economy.
“Scotland has some of the most promising energy resources in Europe which means it can be a driving force to a secure energy future for the UK, supporting growth and jobs,” he commented. “I’m keen to work with the Scottish Government, drawing together industry, the regulator and others. This is an opportunity to roll up our sleeves and work together to ensure we have cheaper, cleaner, reliable energy.”
For further information:
Scotland on track for best renewables year yet (27-Sept)
Scottish Government proposes higher subsidies for offshore wind (14-Sept)
Scottish Government gives go ahead for Stornoway wind farm (11-Sept)
10 October 2012