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12/09/13 00:01

Strong leadership is crucial in investment success

Energy Minister welcomes Audit Scotland findings.

Commenting on today’s Audit Scotland report Fergus Ewing said:

“Today, I welcome the findings of this report which shows that strong and strategic leadership from this government within the renewable sector is key to the successes to date.

“No government since devolution has embarked on such an ambitious programme of investment to transform our renewable energy industry. We and our agencies are pursuing a clear strategic vision for developing renewable energy that will benefit communities across Scotland and boost our economic recovery.

“We have ambitious targets to reach by 2020 but as already demonstrated, through successful leadership and direction by Scottish Government we are making steady progress in achieving these challenging goals. We continue to make good progress and are on course to achieve our interim target of generating the equivalent of 50 per cent of our gross electricity consumption from renewable sources in 2015.

“The Audit Scotland report found that in the last 11 years the public sector has invested more than £209 million on developing the renewable energy sector, and funding is increasing. The budget announced yesterday will more than match this spend with £200M capital investment in key schemes such as the National Renewable Infrastructure fund in 14/15 and 15/16 and an acceleration of the Warm Homes Fund for communities facing fuel poverty to meet our manifesto commitment a year early.

“We continue to see major announcements driving forward the development of renewables. Our £35 million Prototyping for Offshore Wind Energy Renewables Scotland (POWERS) has already been successful at attracting inward investment to Scotland. On 8th May 2013 Scottish Enterprise awarded Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) £6.04 million POWERS funding to support the development of its latest 7MW Offshore Wind Turbine prototype at the Energy Park in Fife.

“However, we recognise, as the report does, that renewable energy projects are progressing more slowly than anticipated owing to factors such as the current economic climate and changes in UK energy policy. With the uncertainty surrounding UK energy policy we are responding to these market conditions by re-profiling our renewables budget, including our flagship Renewable Energy Investment Fund, so that the sector can be confident of continuing support into the future.

“Scotland has a world-leading resource and is a hot-bed of innovation and talent making renewable energy an exciting green growth sector.

“Communities will see obvious benefits of using the resources surrounding them to help increase their independence and security of supply.

“Scotland needs both onshore and offshore renewable technologies to help decarbonise our electricity system, increase energy security, and reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels.”