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Marine Energy Research Centre For Orkney 25 March 03
Ministers have adopted a 40 per cent target for Scotland's energy requirements to be generated from a mix of renewable sources by 2020, it was confirmed today.

Consultation on the 40 per cent level began last August and today Environment and Rural Development Minister Ross Finnie said that the potential to achieve a diverse mix of renewable technologies had persuaded Ministers to accept the target.

Highlighting the need to promote a range of renewables, Mr Finnie also announced a 2 million investment in a new Marine Energy Research Centre in Orkney and the creation of a group to address possible barriers that might stand in the way of achieving the target.

He said:  "By setting this challenging target we are sending a clear signal of intent. We are supporting the accelerated development of renewable technologies.


"The widespread burning of fossil fuels produces greenhouse gases and other pollutants which contribute to climate change. We pledged ourselves in our programme for Government to tackling climate change, and promoting renewable energy is one of the ways we can meet that commitment.

"This ambitious target should not be seen as a dash to wind. Scotland enjoys enormous potential to tap a wide range of renewable sources of energy. It is essential that we move to a position where we make better use of all those resources.

"While hydro and onshore wind will continue to make an important contribution to Scotland's electricity needs, the 2 million we are announcing today will help to boost research into energy from wave and tide through the new Marine Energy Test Centre in Orkney.

"It is only by working with individuals and organisations who will deliver renewable energy facilities that our ambition can be realised. This is why we are establishing a high level Forum for Renwewable Energy Development in Scotland to accelerate the development of our renewable industry.

"We must continue to do everything we can to enhance public understanding of climate change and the important contribution that renewable energy plays in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

"Our ambition can only be realised by industry, our research institutions, developers and planners working together to find innovative ways to overcome the challenges that undoubtedly lie ahead."

Sandy Cumming, chief executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, has welcomed today's announcement from the Environment and Rural Development Minister, Ross Finnie, that the Scottish Executive is to invest 2 million in a new marine energy centre in Orkney.

"The creation of the European Marine Energy Centre is a major step towards harnessing some of the colossal renewable energy sources which exist in the waters around our coasts," said Mr Cumming.

"This is a 5.65 million project of true international significance which could put Scotland at the forefront of research and commercialisation of wave and tidal power.  "The establishment of such a centre could also bring a significant employment boost, helping to create jobs not just in research, but in design, manufacturing and maintenance of marine energy devices.  "Today's announcement from the Minister means that all the necessary funding is in place to make this ambitious project a reality."