£60m fund to help accelerate low carbon energy infrastructure

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

A new £60 million fund is to be made available to accelerate innovation in new technologies including low carbon energy infrastructure by 2020.

The Innovation Fund, announced in the Programme for Government by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday, will support the development of electricity battery storage, sustainable heating systems and electric vehicle charging.

The Scottish Government intends to end the need for new petrol or diesel vehicles in Scotland by 2032 by taking a range of actions, including expanding the charging network and making the A9 Scotland’s first electric-enabled highway.

The new Innovation Fund will also encourage academia and business to find solutions to some of the challenges that will be faced - for example, among projects the fund could support include identifying innovative solutions to the challenge of charging electric vehicles in heavily tenemented towns and cities.

Making the announcement while visiting the Riverside Museum in Glasgow, the First Minister said: “For centuries, Scotland has been home to many great inventions and I want this technological innovation to be renewed for the future. I want us to be world leaders in developing new low carbon energy technologies and embrace social changes that will reduce our emissions.

“We have set out a bold new ambition on ultra-low emission vehicles, including electric cars and vans, with a target to phase out the need for petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032, underpinned by a range of actions to expand the charging network, support innovative approaches and encourage the public sector to lead the way.

“Earlier this year I visited Tesla in Silicon Valley to discuss the importance of energy storage technology to Scotland’s wider energy strategy. That visit was an inspiration. We’re witnessing rapid technological change and the many companies focussing their efforts on this sector are making extraordinary advances. I want to see Scotland play its full part in this age of innovation.”

Environment secretary Rosanna Cunningham said: “As well as pushing ahead with the decarbonisation of road transport, we have also announced plans to introduce Low Emission Zones into Scotland’s four biggest cities between 2018 and 2020 – improving air quality and making our city centres a more desirable place to live, work and visit.

“Scotland has made good progress in tackling air pollution, but a there are still areas of our towns and cities where levels are too high. We want to develop a sustainable future for younger generations.

“Taken together, these measures along with our plans to build an Active Nation by investing record sums in walking and cycling, represent a step change in our levels of ambition and it’s heartening to see this being described as Scotland’s boldest and greenest Programme for Government.”

WWF Scotland said the “ambitious, progressive and green Programme for Government, puts Scotland’s low carbon economy in the driving seat”.

Acting head of policy, Gina Hanrahan, said: “Scotland has long been home to world class innovation and this Programme for Government is a welcome commitment to build on our strengths and embrace a sustainable future with confidence. The benefits of today’s announcement will continue to be felt across Scotland for generations to come, as we build on the huge successes of renewable electricity, to create new jobs in clean transport and deliver a thriving economy.

“We’ll be working with Ministers and MSPs from across the Scottish Parliament to ensure these plans are delivered in the best, fairest, most affordable way possible.

Jenny Hogan, deputy chief executive of Scottish Renewables, added: “The announcement of £60m to deliver cutting-edge low-carbon energy infrastructure like electricity battery storage and sustainable heating systems will build on the success of projects already announced under the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme and further enable our shift to a cleaner, greener economy.”

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