£18m fund to “unleash power of Scotland’s seas”

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond announced an £18m boost for marine renewables yesterday, the same day it was announced he is to be the recipient of an international climate change award.

The investment will be used to establish a wave and tidal commercialisation fund to help develop Scotland’s first commercial wave and tidal power arrays. It forms part of the £35m provided to enterprise agencies by the Scottish Government over the next three years to directly support the marine and tidal industry including planned projects in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Salmond said: “I am delighted to announce an £18m commercialisation fund which will help developers to unleash the power of Scotland’s seas, as part of our biggest financial commitment to date of £35m for this sector.

“We know Scotland’s waters are host to awesome forces and that there is enough wave and tidal energy around Scotland to meet our demands for power several times over.

“Scotland can lead the world in marine energy. We have a tenth of Europe’s wave power and a quarter of its tidal power as well as the legacy and expertise of our traditional energy industries.

“Marine energy will be crucial in transforming our energy supply and will contribute to our ambitious target for all of Scotland’s electricity needs to be met from renewables by 2020.

“This fund will play a vital role in helping the industry move us towards that goal, helping them develop their prototype devices into commercially viable arrays.”

The news followed an announcement earlier in the day that Mr Salmond had been selected as the recipient of the third South Australia International Climate Change Award. The announcement was made by outgoing Premier of South Australia Mike Rann and previous recipients include former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009 and Quebec Premier Jean Charest last year.

Commenting on the award Mr Salmond said: “It is a great honour to receive this award which I accept as recognition of the fact that our legislation on climate change is truly world-leading. The Scottish Government has already taken the lead with our ambitious legislation to cut emissions by 42% by 2020 and we are continuing to demonstrate that leadership to world leaders by being part of the Climate Group where our strong example can inspire other nations to equally ambitious action.

“The Scottish Government recognises the urgency of addressing climate change and is an active partner in the common desire to create a sustainable future.”

WWF Scotland’s Director Dr Richard Dixon said: “Congratulations are certainly deserved for Alex Salmond and the entire Scottish Parliament for their voting in favour of what still remains the world’s strongest climate change law.

“No one can fault Alex Salmond for his unstinting enthusiasm for renewable energy which is setting a great example and is stimulating action in other countries.

“However, with the next international climate talks in Durban – South Africa – fast approaching, the big test for the Scottish Government is now in delivering on our world-leading targets. We need to hear less about pumping every last drop of climate-trashing oil from beneath the North Sea and more about action to cut climate emissions, especially from our homes and road transport.”

Will Parsons

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