Investment boost for Scottish renewables firms

Public and private finance is to be poured into the development of the Scottish renewables sector to help the northern nation stay ahead of the game.

The new £6m Sigma Sustainable Energies Fund will see the Scottish Executive and Scottish and Southern Energy plc share the brunt of the financial burden – with each paying in £2.4m – while Sigma Technology Investments, Scottish Enterprise Fife and limited partners will stump up the remaining £1.2m.

The fund will invest up to £500,000 in companies in the East of Scotland seeking to sell equity to grow their business and a wide range of technologies will be able to apply, including wind, solar, hydro-electric, biomass, ocean, hydrogen, and geo-thermal.

The fund will also consider projects which develop home and community power systems, fuel cells and energy storage, control systems and energy efficient products or applications.

Announcing the launch of the fund at Fife Energy Park in Methil, Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen said: “Scotland has incredible potential to be a world leader in green energy and we have a target of 40% of our electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020.

“We have world class universities and research facilities, skills and technology from our offshore energy industry and many innovative and enterprising developers and companies.

“Ocean Power Delivery (OPD) is already setting the pace for wave energy. It is exporting its Pelamis wave devices to Portugal, using Scottish skills to make it happen.

“I now want to see more Scottish companies exploiting the opportunities that exist. I have already announced £20 million for clean, green energy products and this new Sigma fund will further strengthen Scotland’s position.

“This fund will give other companies the opportunity to follow Ocean Power Delivery and I am particularly pleased to be able to channel £2.4 million European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) into developing the market.

“By working with the business sector, we can make Scotland the place to be for renewable energy – good for the environment and good for business.”

Green MSPs were unimpressed by the depths of the funds’ pockets, however, saying it was a missed opportunity.

Shiona Baird, Green North East MSP and speaker on Energy, said: “Any cash for this sector is welcome, but this is a pitiful amount for a sector that could, if given the right support, secure Scotland a prime position in the global economy.

“There are potentially thousands of jobs to be created, and we could lead in the production of sustainable and safe energy – but that won’t happen if the Executive does not get it together and make more meaningful moves to ensure industry flourishes.”

Sam Bond

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