A £70 million investment fund to secure Scotland’s place at the forefront of the global offshore wind industry has been announced by the Scottish Government. The National Renewables Infrastructure Fund – to strengthen port and manufacturing facilities and supply chain provision for manufacturing offshore wind turbines and related components – will leverage significant private sector investment in the next four years and help deliver an estimated 28,000 jobs and £7.1 billion in value to Scotland’s economy over the coming decade.
The National Renewables Infrastructure Fund is being delivered through a partnership of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise until 2015.
In launching the initiative, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has also reiterated his call for the UK Government to remove the restrictions on immediate access to the £191 million of Scotland’s Fossil Fuel Levy funds generated north of the border to invest in renewable industries. “The Scottish Parliament has condemned the UK Government’s refusal to give unrestricted access to Scotland’s £191 million Fossil Fuel Levy funds. Together with industry, we must and we will continue to press the Treasury to release these funds now due to Scotland. They remain vital for the development of offshore wind and marine power, for heat networks and technology to deliver our renewable heat targets; and vital too for our communities, so they can invest in and benefit from the green economy.
He continues: “Our National Renewables Infrastructure Plan has already established the most immediate needs. Together with Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise, we are determined to stimulate the market and act decisively to trigger vital capital investment and launch the next phase of Scotland’s renewables revolution.”
More than 7,000 offshore wind turbines are expected to be constructed off the UK’s coast over the next decade and the Scottish Government and its enterprise agencies are working to support offshore wind farm developers, including by ensuring the provision of Scottish ports and companies able to provide critical manufacturing, operations and maintenance services.
Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise will now to work with site owners and public sector partners to develop key locations to the required specification that will fortify Scotland’s position as a key offshore wind development location and attract the associated offshore wind inward investors.