The Scottish Government has announced a new £26-million investment to support the energy sector’s transition to net-zero emissions.
The Energy Transition Zone (ETZ) will be funded by the Scottish Government’s Energy Transition Fund, a five-year financial package launched in June 2020 to support the diversification of the oil, gas, and energy sectors.
While the zone’s remit has yet to be finalised, its expected key activities will be to develop high-value offshore wind manufacturing and create a floating offshore wind centre of excellence. In addition, the project will explore hydrogen technology, with plans to develop offshore hydrogen production landing facilities, green hydrogen test and demonstration facilities and high value manufacturing for hydrogen.
Other projects envisioned as part of the project include facilities for trimodal refuelling and distribution, low carbon marine field test and demonstration facility, a UK clean fields meteorology centre, applied R&D high value manufacturing, business incubation and scale-up, and an Energy Skills Academy Hub.
Announcing the funding, Net Zero, Energy and Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “The Scottish Government is wholly committed to ending our contribution to climate change by 2045, and doing so in a way that ensures a just transition to net-zero, making sure no-one is left behind.
“One year ago, we launched the £62-million Energy Transition Fund, recognising the impact of Covid-19 on the industry, but also the need to support our energy sector to grow and transition in a fair way.”
He added: “Urgent, collective action is required in order to ensure a just transition to a net-zero economy. By capitalising on our strengths in energy, innovation and our skilled workforce, Scotland can show the rest of the world how it’s done – and ensure our people, businesses and communities are at the forefront of our new green economy.
“I am pleased to announce this financial support for the Energy Transition Zone, which is a hugely exciting project that promises to accelerate our journey to net-zero whilst, crucially, ensuring that journey is fair and creates a better future for everyone.”
The zone is expected to directly support 2,500 green jobs by 2030, alongside a further 10,000 transition-related jobs.
In addition, the development will be located adjacent to Aberdeen’s new £350-million south harbour development.
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Chief Executive of ETZ Ltd Maggie McGinlay said: “The Scottish Government’s confirmation of financial support for the Energy Transition Zone is a welcome boost for Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland.
“ETZ Ltd’s clear ambition is to transform the region into a globally integrated energy cluster, focused on accelerating to net zero through energy transition activities. Today’s announcement, alongside the UK Government’s commitment of similar levels of funding toward the project, will help ensure this ambition becomes a reality.
She also noted: “The North East is uniquely positioned within Scotland and the UK to take advantage of this great opportunity. As we continue to transition from oil and gas, the Energy Transition Zone will enable us to develop a world class supply chain and create significant new green employment and investment opportunities.
“There is a lot of work to be done in order to realise this ambition and this will include a programme of extensive engagement with the local communities and businesses to ensure the region’s energy transition ambitions are developed in line with the needs of the community, industry and investors.”