Scotland announces £35m offshore wind energy fund

Details of a £35m fund to support the manufacture of next-generation offshore wind power technology in Scotland were revealed today by the country’s First Minister Alex Salmond.

According to economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, the £35m POWERS (Prototype Offshore Wind Energy Renewables Support) fund builds on recent success in attracting world-leading turbine manufacturers to locate R&D bases in Scotland and aims to leverage up £80m more in private investment and bring the production of full-scale prototypes to Scottish sites.

With more than 7,000 wind turbines planned for UK waters and over £100bn to be invested in the next decade, Scottish Enterprise said securing turbine manufacturing is seen as a critical step in achieving Scotland’s low carbon economic growth ambitions.

Salmond made the announcement at the second Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference in Edinburgh today.

“As developers and investors look across this global market for certainty and for leadership from government, they can look to Scotland to provide those things,” he said. “We are determined to remain among the most attractive locations for manufacturing, including the prototype testing that follows the R&D phase.

“That is why I am announcing a new £35m fund to support production of full-scale prototypes of the next-generation offshore wind turbines that will power the renewables revolution, deliver our 2020 vision and reindustrialise Scotland.”

Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise said Scotland has a real opportunity to capture a share of the critical turbine manufacturing market. “This fund underlines our commitment to developing our business environment to ensure Scotland is at the forefront of a globally competitive offshore wind farm sector and helps achieve Scotland’s low carbon economic growth ambitions," she said.

The POWERS development fund will be open for applications from September 2011 and will remain open until March 2013. It is a targeted inward investment intervention directed specifically and solely at offshore wind turbine manufacturers. The fund will be managed and administered by Scottish Enterprise, in partnership with the Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Scottish Enterprise said Scotland has some as much as a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind power and tidal energy potential and an estimated 10pc of its wave power capacity. The agency said that harnessing just a third of its estimated 206GW offshore renewables resource, could enable Scotland to meet its own domestic electricity needs seven times over by 2050.

There are currently 7 GW of renewables capacity installed, under construction or consented around Scotland. In the last year, power system manufacturers Mitsubishi, Gamesa and Doosan have all announced plans to develop next generation offshore wind turbine technology in Scotland.