Salmond calls for release of Fossil Fuel Levy cash

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First Minister Alex Salmond has called for the urgent release of Scotland’s £185 million Fossil Fuel Levy fund as a report suggested that more than 5,000 green jobs could be created through the development of three regional offshore energy manufacturing sites.

Speaking at a Scottish Government public discussion event in Dornoch, the First Minister welcomed Stage 2 of the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan (N-RIP), which has just been published by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise.


First Minister Alex Salmond has called for the urgent release of Scotland’s £185 million Fossil Fuel Levy fund as a report suggested that more than 5,000 green jobs could be created through the development of three regional offshore energy manufacturing sites.

Speaking at a Scottish Government public discussion event in Dornoch, the First Minister welcomed Stage 2 of the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan (N-RIP), which has just been published by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise.

The plan outlines the investment required to deliver Scotland’s ambition to become a premier location for the manufacturing and deployment of wind turbine and marine energy devices.

The report states that a total private and public investment of £223 million would assist the creation of 11 offshore wind manufacturing sites in three regional clusters. Taken together these sites could support the creation of up to 5,180 jobs and an annual economic impact of up to £294.5 million each year.

The sites identified in Stage 1 of the N-RIP, published in February, are: Leith, Dundee, Nigg, Energy Park at Methil, Hunterston, Aberdeen, Arnish, Campbeltown/Machrihanish, Ardersier, Kishorn and Peterhead. This latest report recommends that the sites are developed into three regional manufacturing clusters that would support the fabrication of offshore wind components and tap into the wealth of subsea expertise that already exists in Scotland.

The First Minister said:
“Scotland has the natural resources, expertise and ambition to become a global powerhouse for clean, green energy. The National Renewables Infrastructure Plan outlines the steps required to realise our ambition and to establish Scotland as a premier destination for the manufacture and installation of offshore renewable energy devices.

“This plan focuses on the sites that could provide investors with the high-quality infrastructure required for success in the rapidly growing green energy industry.

“The report states that a total investment of up to £223 million is required to realise the potential of these sites, which could create more than 5,000 manufacturing jobs and generate around £300 million each year for Scotland’s economy.

“Scotland has established itself as a leader in green energy. Our seas have unrivalled potential to generate clean energy and bring jobs and investment to our communities. Scotland’s waters are estimated to have as much as a quarter of Europe’s potential offshore wind and tidal energy resource and a tenth of the wave power capacity, and in the current economic climate it is important that we capitalise on these natural assets to secure new opportunities that support economic recovery and growth.

“Unlocking the potential of these sites requires initial investment from both the private and public sector. This report underlines the case for early investment and therefore it’s now urgent for the Treasury to release Scotland’s £185 million Fossil Fuel Levy to further develop the renewables industry.

“This infrastructure plan demonstrates the huge economic rewards of strengthening our offshore and marine energy industries and marks another positive step towards creating a low carbon, sustainable Scotland.”

Lena Wilson, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise claimed that Scotland could become a recognised base for renewable manufacturing saying:
“Scotland can be home to offshore renewable manufacturing in the same way as we are becoming home to the engineering design of offshore wind and wave tidal facilities. Taken together, these opportunities will help to secure Scotland’s place as Europe’s powerhouse of renewable energy production.

“This latest phase of the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan has been developed collaboratively with industry and will help inform investment priorities for the future. Our priority now is to work with individual site owners and our public sector partners to identify how we collectively attract the investment that will help them develop the infrastructure and meet future market demands.”

Sandy Brady, Acting Chief Executive of Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) said:
“This report comes at a very exciting time for the offshore renewables sector in Scotland. At HIE we see the huge long term economic benefits for the coastal communities across our region, from Shetland to Kintyre and the Outer Hebrides to Moray.”

Andrew Jamieson of Director of Scottish Renewables claimed that Scotland was on the verge of a major breakthrough in the manufacture of renewable equipment saying:
“As co-chair of the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan’s delivery group I know Scotland is very close to making a breakthrough in becoming a major force in the manufacturing of offshore renewables equipment, not just for Scotland’s needs but also the export market.”