Scottish Government announces Renewable Energy Investment Fund

The Scottish Government this week the creation of the Renewable Energy Investment Fund. The £103 million fund will be specifically targeted at certain types of renewable development to ensure that investment money will not be spent on renewable technologies which have already achieved commercialisation.

The Renewable Energy Investment Fund will be initially focused on the following types of project:

rural businesses and local communities will be given assistance and funding to establish community owned renewable developments, wave and tidal developers will be funded with a particular emphasis on the development and deployment of array projects, and district heating schemes.

It is intended that the Renewable Energy Investment Fund will “have a legacy for many years” as money is to be repaid into the fund and then reinvested into new developments. It is also intended that the Renewable Energy Investment Fund will work alongside funding from the Green Investment Bank (which is to head-quartered in Edinburgh) as the Investment Fund is aimed at projects at an earlier stage of development. Green Investment Bank funds are to be aimed at projects which are at a “near commercial” stage. This £103 fund comes in addition to the £200 million already committed over the next three years in the Scottish Government’s spending review.

Scottish Energy Minister announced the launch of the Renewable Energy Investment Fund:

“This “103 million Renewable Energy Investment Fund will allow communities all over Scotland to reap the benefits  of our green energy revolution.

“Scotland has astounding green energy potential and vast natural resources, and we have a responsibility to make sure our nation seizes this opportunity to create tens of thousands of new jobs and secure billions of pounds of investment in our economy.

“This fund will help us to make the most of our potential. Some have called on us to increase funding for marine technologies – this fund does that, demonstrates our commitment to marine and will ensure marine renewable technologies become commercial realities. It will help ensure district heating is rolled out throughout Scotland, and will support communities developing their own local renewable projects.

“The fund will not replicate existing grant and loan support. Instead, it will focus on investment by offering new and innovative instruments which complement existing Scottish routes.

“That is what this fund is all about – investing money from the technologies of the past to secure our energy future.”

Niall Stewart, chairman of Scottish Renewables greeted the news:

“After the recent positive announcement on locating the UK Green Investment Bank Headquarters in Edinburgh, the Energy Minister’s statement on the Renewable Energy Investment Fund makes for doubly good news for Scotland’s flourishing renewable energy sector.

“This new £103 million fund will inject much-needed investment into the development of the next generation of renewable technologies, such as marine energy and renewable heat. This kind of support can be a vital catalyst in attracting even greater levels of private investment.

“Scotland is already at the forefront of developing and testing emerging wave and tidal technologies and, with the correct level of government support, we can become a global centre of excellence in both the deployment of these technologies and their accompanying supply chains.

“The renewable energy industry is already providing thousands of Scottish jobs and has the potential to bring in billions of pounds into the Scottish economy. The Renewable Energy Investment Fund will help the industry and local communities continue to deliver Scotland’s ambition of maximising its renewable energy potential.”

Dr Richard Nixon, director of WWF Scotland commented:

“The focus on marine renewables and district heating are particularly welcome as these are two areas that need to grow quickly in the next few years if we are to cut emissions. However, we’re also pleased to see help for smaller renewable schemes as we know there are many around the country who wish to take action in their own communities.”

The announcement of the Renewable Energy Investment Fund and the head-quartering of the Green Investment Bank in Edinburgh demonstrates continued government support for the country’s renewable industry from both a Scottish and UK level.

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