14 November 2011

UK £103 million boost to renewables

Pelamis wave energy generator

The UK government has announced £103 million in funding for renewable energy in Scotland. The move to take money from the Fossil Fuel Levy is additional to the budget for Scotland, but within spending plans.

Environmental groups like Friends of the Earth see the move as a ‘small part’ of a larger effort in the fight to reduce carbon emissions. The fossil fuel levy is a tax paid by energy suppliers for non-renewable energy and currently holds over £200 million, with the rest of the money earmarked to support the capitalisation of the UK Green Investment Bank.

Chancellor George Osbourne says, "It's great news that we have been able to cut through the arguments and the wrangling with the Scottish government that have stopped this money being invested in the past. It shows how serious the UK government is in its support for Scotland's green future."

There has been some criticism however, over the withholding of the money until now, which some say should have been pumped into the industry earlier. The money will now go to various hydro, tidal, wave, offshore and onshore wind projects.

One particular developer of wave power - Pelamis, has particularly welcomed the move. The company is about to enter into wide scale commercial deployment of the technology, which has undergone years of testing and development.

"The majority of the capital expenditure involved in the manufacture of a Pelamis machine is currently spent in the UK, and all the design, fabrication, and assembly of our machines is done in Scotland - so we are well aware of the potential economic opportunity in this sector." Said Per Hornung Pedersen, CEO of Pelamis Wave Power.

Whilst the money is welcome of course, it is now important that it is spent in the right way, to develop the renewable potential in Scotland and to further carbon reduction efforts.

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