A new multi-million pound Scottish Government energy support package has been welcomed by the renewables sector but must not “endanger progress” on carbon emissions.
The £62 million Energy Transition Fund, focussed on north-east Scotland, is being made available over the next five years to help the industry deal with the “dual economic impacts” of the pandemic and crash in oil prices.
But Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, warned that the recovery should not “lock-in fossil fuel extraction.
She said: “Today’s announcement of a £62 million fund to help the energy sector accelerate its transition to net-zero emissions is welcome, particularly in its reiteration of the importance of pursuing a ‘green, low-carbon recovery’ from the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is vital that recovery does not ‘lock-in’ fossil fuel extraction, as we have seen in the aftermath of previous economic shocks. Doing so would endanger progress towards our climate targets and miss out on the opportunity to use renewable energy technologies to increase wellbeing and deliver increased socio-economic opportunity across Scotland.
“We are particularly interested to hear more details of how an Energy Transition Zone could focus on low-carbon manufacturing, and would see this as a way of using Scotland’s engineering skills to lower the cost of key technologies like floating wind, wave and tidal power and create opportunities for Scottish supply chain companies.”
Jean Morrison, chair of Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) also welcomed the news, but added that it was “important” the Covid-19 crisis be used to work towards the energy transition.
She continued “This news will be greatly welcomed by the north east energy sector. It’s an industry that has experienced highs and lows throughout the decades but with this could be the toughest recovery yet, so it’s important we use this crisis as a catalyst in the transition to net zero.
“The Energy Transition Zone at Aberdeen South Harbour looks set to provide a first-class base to develop renewable and low-carbon technologies and the city is already home to some of the most ground-breaking hydrogen initiatives.
“With decades of experience and knowledge, the north east is not only well placed to deliver on energy transition but also attract investment and create jobs for the region.”