Funding boost for Scottish microgeneration
Microgeneration in Scotland will receive a boost of £3m over the next two years - a 60% increase on previous years - Scottish authorities said on Tuesday.Communities and households wanting to generate their own energy will now receive £5.2m annually through the Scottish Community & Householder Renewables Inititiative, Scottish Executive deputy first minister Nicol Stephen said.
The renewables industry welcomed the announcement, but said grants were not enough. Chris Tomlinson of the British Wind Energy Association commented: "Grants play an important role in stimulating a market for micro-renewable technologies. However, they must be coupled with other support mechanisms such as a streamlined planning process and reward packages for exporters of micropower."
Maf Smith, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said that the extra funding will help change social attitudes as well as helping the renewables industry: "Research has shown that when people have a greater understanding how electricity and heat is generated and then used in their homes, they are much more aware of how to reduce demand and use what power they do have more efficiently."
"Scotland leads the way in manufacturing micro-generation equipment just as it leads the way in renewable energy sectors such as hydro, wind and marine power," he said.
But Green MSPs argued that even after the boost, the £5.2m available for Scottish microgeneration was still insignificant compared to the £59m allocated to renewables and microgeneration in England and Wales, or the £50m available in Northern Ireland.
Shiona Baird MSP, Green speaker on energy, said: "If he [Nicol Stephen] announces major funding in the tens of millions - then I will take my hat off to him for listening to us, and the voices of many small businesses, at long last." She called the current funding "disappointing."
"Given Mr Stephen's decisions to bulldoze through major climate-wrecking projects like the M74 extension and the Aberdeen Bypass at a cost reaching into the billions - I am not holding my breath that he really is serious about tackling climate change," she said.
More information on the potential for micro-generation in Scotland is available here.
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