Scotland receives boost for renewable energy projects
Scotland is to become one of the world's leaders in wave and tidal power, following a £ 50 mm investment in
renewable energy. The news of the Department of Trade and Industry funding boost was tempered by revelations the
government was about to unveil plans to bury millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions under the North Sea.
A huge wave turbine will reportedly be placed off the coast of Scotland as part of the scheme to accelerate the commercial deployment of wave and tidal devices. DTI officials have set out a renewable energy action plan in the wake of a report commissioned by the Forum for Renewable Energy Development in Scotland (FREDS) which estimated wave power could create 7000 jobs in Scotland by 2020. The cash will go towards a Marine Renewables Deployment Fund to develop energy supplies that will help tackle climate change.
Lewis Macdonald, deputy enterprise minister, said the FREDS report had shown that marine energy could generate as
much as 10 % of Scotland's electricity by2020, and create an industry sustaining thousands of new jobs.
He said: "We have the technologies and we have the commitment to succeed. "Renewable energy technologies also play an important part in our efforts to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change." Mr Macdonald welcomed the DTI's investment and said the executive would also offer additional support to marine energy developers in Scotland.
In a separate development, the DTI is expected to announce a national consultation on the capture and storage of
carbon dioxide from coal and gas power plants. It has been reported the DTI was considering using cavities under the
North Sea, which have been mined for oil and gas, for storage.
Friends of the Earth welcomed plans to boost wave energy but warned the proposals to bury huge amounts of carbon dioxide could distract the government from the need to cut total emissions of greenhouse gases.
Dr Dan Barlow, Friends of the Earth Scotland's head of research, said there was a huge potential to generate
pollution-free energy from wave and tidal power. He said: "It is right that government support comes now if wave
power is ever to fulfil its true potential. However, it is vital that government doesn't get distracted from the real
job at hand -- that is the need to reduce total emissions.”
"Technical fixes such as sequestration may have a role to play but they are likely to prove more expensive and less effective than simple measures to reduce emissions such as increasing energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy."
Stephen Timms, UK energy minister, said the government was committed to "ambitious targets". He added: "Renewable
energy offers a fantastic commercial opportunity for Scotland.
"The government is committed to ambitious targets of 10 % of electricity to be generated from renewables by 2010 and we want to double that by 2020. I've announced a £ 50 mm package of measures to help encourage the development of wave and tidal energy sources. Scotland canplay a leading part in developing this technology which could bring high quality jobs and investment."