Scotland sets up new fund to help develop offshore wind power

The future for offshore wind energy in the United Kingdom continues to attract government support with Tuesday’s announcement that Scotland has set up a €80 million investment fund to help secure its place in Europe’s rapidly developing offshore wind farm industry.

First Minister Alex Salmond announced that the fund — which, according to a press release, is designed to “strengthen port and manufacturing facilities and supply chain provision for manufacturing offshore wind turbines and related components” — at a RenewableUK conference in Glasgow.

“The offshore wind energy industry is seeking leadership and immediate support from government and the Scottish government is determined to provide that,” Salmond said.

“I am delighted to announce — and open for business — Scotland’s [€80] million National Renewables Infrastructure Fund. The fund covers infrastructure relating to manufacturing and test/demonstration facilities.”

Noting that more than 7,000 offshore wind turbines are expected to be constructed off the UK’s coast over the next 10 years, the press release said that the new fund will leverage significant private sector investment in the next four years and help deliver an estimated 28,000 jobs and €8.1 billion in value to Scotland’s economy over the coming decade.

Salmond described Scotland as having the “political will needed to deliver a green energy revolution that can build sustainable economic recovery and reduce Europe’s carbon emissions.” He also said Scotland is determined to act decisively to stimulate the market, trigger capital investment and launch the next phase of its renewables revolution.

In the same press release, Scottish Enterprise Chief Executive Lena Wilson said “now is the time to build on Scotland’s position as the leader in global offshore wind energy development.”

Wilson added the new fund will allow Scotland to “turn our offshore wind aspirations into reality.”

A week earlier, offshore wind power in Britain received a huge boost of confidence with announcements that four international energy companies had decided to invest more than €450 million in the sector after the UK government signaled it would provide about €68m for port upgrades necessary for the next generation of offshore wind turbines.

By Chris Rose,