Scotland has received a massive boost to its energy ambitions with more than a million pounds worth of grants handed out to local businesses as part of a biomass heat scheme, and the launch of a huge wave power machine capable of generating 750kW of electricity.
Restaurants, a brewery and a hotel are among 16 projects awarded cash under the Scottish Biomass Heat Scheme which offers grants to reduce energy costs, secure jobs in forestry and deliver annual savings of over 7,000 tonnes of carbon.
Scottish Energy Minister Jim Mather said: “A viable renewable heat sector is vital to become a truly low carbon economy. We have the forestry resource and the skills in Scotland and there are many opportunities for businesses to use more biomass heating, especially in areas off the gas grid.
“These Biomass Heat Scheme grants will help a range of different businesses reduce emissions and cut costs, while securing green jobs.”
The Scottish government backs increased use of wood as fuel to build sustainability into its economy and is working with the Forestry Commission Scotland into ways of increasing the amount of trees that can be harvested. Earlier this year the government announced plans to plant a 100 million trees within five years to increase wood fuel yield.
The Biomass Heat Scheme is Scotland-wide, with funding of £3.3 m over two years from April 2009 to March 2011. The Scheme is managed in partnership between Scottish government and Forestry Commission Scotland and is targeted at businesses, specifically small and medium sized enterprises.
Meanwhile in Leith, First Minister Alex Salmond launched the Pelamis P2 wave power converter, built for German energy giant E.ON. Mr Salmond said: “Scotland is well-placed to become the clean, green energy powerhouse of Europe, with as much as 10 per cent of its wave power potential, as well as an estimated one quarter of the continent’s offshore wind and tidal energy capacity.”
The converter will be tested at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney while it is prepared for commercial use.