A £62 million fund has been set up to help Scotland’s energy sector bounce back from the impact of coronavirus and make the switch towards low-carbon technology.
The Energy Transition Fund will focus mainly on north-east firms over the next five years through projects such as a Global Underwater Hub, the Net Zero Solution Centre, a Hydrogen Hub, the Acorn project and an Energy Transition Zone.
It aims to help companies with experience in the oil and gas industry to use their expertise on renewable energy, hydrogen gas and other projects that will help Scotland towards its target of net-zero by 2045.
The funding will be intended to benefit the energy supply chain across Scotland.
Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Aberdeen is recognised globally as a centre of excellence in oil and gas and this funding will help ensure that the knowledge, skills and expertise it has to offer will play a vital role in the energy transition.
“It is vital we move quickly to seize the opportunity to take forward a green, low-carbon recovery and support the workforce as the energy sector diversifies. Now is an opportune time to reimagine the Scotland around us and to begin building a greener, fairer and more equal society and economy focused on wellbeing.”
Oil & Gas UK chief executive Deirdre Michie said: “The support from the Scottish Government today is good news for jobs, supply chain companies and energy communities.
“This significant funding recognises the essential role of Scotland’s offshore oil and gas industry in realising a net zero Scotland by 2045.”
Sir Ian Wood, chair of economic growth body Opportunity North East, said: “We very much welcome today’s timely funding announcement from the Scottish Government to help strengthen the North East of Scotland’s growing position as a global integrated energy transition cluster creating a lot of employment over the next 20 years.”
Chief executive of the Oil & Gas Technology Centre Colette Cohen said: “The creation of this fund to accelerate the transition of the energy sector to a new and exciting net zero future is very welcome news.
“We look forward to working with industry and government to deliver these exciting programmes and make sure the North East of Scotland continues to be a leader in technology and innovation for the net zero economy.”
Dr Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “The announcement of the £62million Energy Transition Fund and the £2 million Town Centres fund are positive steps.
“However, more must be done to close gaps in government support and providing incentives to help stimulate consumer demand and business investment. Establishing air bridges between countries with low infection rates would provide a much-needed boost to key parts of the Scottish economy.
“We now need to ensure the Scottish Government puts every resource at their disposal into helping to support businesses through this economic crisis.”
Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, 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.”
Jo Bamford, executive chairman of Ryse Hydrogen, said: “We praise the Scottish Government on its investment in zero carbon energy, and particularly its pledge to fund a hydrogen hub at Aberdeen.
“The Energy Transition Fund will be critical in attracting private investment in exciting new technologies. Ryse Hydrogen is exploring numerous opportunities to set up a green hydrogen production plant in the Aberdeen area, and our partners Wrightbus are already committed to delivering hydrogen powered buses to the city later this year.”