The Scottish government has announced a £62 million support package for the energy sector.
The Energy Transition Fund is designed to help the industry through the dual threats of the economic impact of COVID-19 and the oil and gas price crash.
A number of projects are being considered for the funding, in the North East of Scotland in particular. These include a new Energy Transition Zone located opposite Aberdeen South Harbour, a Global Underwater Hub and a number of different project at the Oil and Gas Technology Centre’s Net Zero Solution Centre.
Scotland’s economy secretary Fiona Hyslop said this was an “extremely difficult time for our business community” and that they need to do all they can to help with the recovery effort in key sectors.
“This package of investment for the North East will support our energy sector as it recovers from the impact of COVID-19 and will help us make significant progress as we move towards net zero by 2045.
“It is vital we move quickly to seize the opportunity to take forward a green, low-carbon recovery and support the workforce as the energy sector diversifies. Now is an opportune time to re-imagine the Scotland around us and to begin building a greener, fairer and more equal society and economy focused on wellbeing.”
Additionally, the fund will help make the North East of Scotland a ‘Hydrogen model region’ according to the government.
Early funding will be provided for the ACORN Hydrogen project, which is looking to use natural gas for hydrogen project along with working on carbon capture and storage. The Aberdeen Hydrogen Hub will also receive funding, and is looking into green hydrogen in the transport sector.
Chair of Opportunity North East, Sir Ian Wood, said: “We very much welcome today’s timely funding announcement from the Scottish government to help strengthen the North East of Scotland’s growing position as a global integrated energy transition cluster creating a lot of employment over the next 20 years."
Scotland has an ambitious target of net zero by 2045, and has already seen emissions in the power sector fall over 90% since 1990.
In December, the Committee on Climate Change advised that the country must take more decisive action over the next 12 months if it is to reach its net zero ambition, however. In areas like the North East of Scotland, governmental support is particularly key, as the oil and gas sector that plays such a prominent role in the economy of the area winds down and adapts.
Glasgow is set to host international environmental conference COP26 – which has now been postponed till 2021 due to COVID-19 – throwing Scotland’s decarbonisation into particular light.
Scotland’s second city is targeting net zero by 2030, but over £2.3 billion will need to be invested in its energy networks, electric vehicles (EVs) and heat pumps to hit this target, according to ScottishPower.