ISLES MP Alistair Carmichael has welcomed the announcement of £20 million of government funding in support of tidal stream and wave power projects that will be made available through the Contracts for Difference (CfD) mechanism.
The industry has long campaigned for a “ringfenced” pot of money to help bring small projects from around the coast, many based in the Northern Isles, to market maturity.
However, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has urged the UK Government to increase the funding package to at least £71 million.
Carmichael said: “This is excellent news and a testament to the tireless campaign by so many people to get the government on side.
“This is a success that has been years in the making and has the potential to set up tidal stream energy commercialisation – with green growth and jobs in the isles and across the UK – for the years to come.
“I could quibble over the exact amount given – and of course there will be a great deal of work to be done to get this support into action – but now it is time to recognise a genuine win for the isles and for the country. This is an enormous opportunity for our economy and our environment – and now we can take it.”
Blackford said: “This partial Tory U-turn only comes after months of pressure from the SNP, but as the Scottish industry has made clear it does not go anywhere near far enough to ensure tidal stream energy can reach its full potential.
“Tidal has the potential to be a major Scottish success story and a key part of Scotland’s renewable energy revolution – but it can only properly flourish if the UK government delivers the scale of funding required.
“The Chancellor must increase the budget to at least £71 million so world-leading Scottish companies aren’t restricted in their ambitions.”
The CfD scheme is the UK Government’s primary method of encouraging investment in low carbon electricity.
The next round of the CfD auction opens on 13 December when renewable energy developers can bid for annual funding of up to £285 million – £20 million of which will now be allocated to marine energy projects.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “With strong wind and solar power industries in the UK it is the natural next step to explore our tidal energy capabilities. It’s an exciting development in supporting of our domestically-produced renewable energy sources.”
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