THE pot of money set aside to support wave and tidal energy projects in Scotland has run dry, Labour claimed last night.
Party energy spokesman Lewis Macdonald has demanded that ministers explain how the £13million put aside by the previous administration has been used.
In October 2006, the previous Scottish Executive launched the Wave and Tidal Energy Support Scheme with £8million in the kitty. In February the following year, the programme was topped up with a further £5million due to the high demand.
But the new SNP administration decided to terminate the scheme as of April this year, prompting concerns about the commitment to wave and tidal energy.
The concern is contradicted by a statement from First Minister Alex Salmond that said nothing should stand in the way of developing the renewable energy potential of the Pentland Firth.
Mr Macdonald, the MSP for Aberdeen Central, has tabled a series of questions asking how the tidal and wave fund money has been spent and whether the Scottish Government intends to replace it.
“The SNP government must clarify how the £13million grant programme, set up by the previous Labour administration, has been spent and where the missing millions have gone,” he said.
“This was a popular scheme for research and development firms in Scotland and it has been discontinued without any prior discussion.
“Alex Salmond only last week said that the Pentland Firth was potentially the ‘Saudi Arabia of marine power’. Now it appears this funding stream has been shut off by his government.
“When will the first minister start to put his money where his mouth is on renewable energy?”
A Scottish Government spokesman said it was committed to supporting several projects through the scheme.
He said: “Eleven million pounds is being used to support nine wave and tidal energy projects and the remaining £2million is going towards infrastructure projects at the world-leading European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.”