In the House of Commons last week Jo urged the new Minister for Scotland to drive forward the transition toward renewable energy.
Questioning to the Secretary of State for Scotland, Liberal Democrat Michael Moore, Jo urged him to help Scotland benefit from the Marine Renewables Development Fund. The fund includes £42 million earmarked for the development of wave and tidal power, which has remained untapped since the scheme was setup in 2004. Scotland, which has huge potential for generating renewable energy from the marine environment, would be the natural beneficiary of this extra investment.
Commenting, Jo said:
“The potential for harnessing wave and tidal power in Scotland is vast – indeed, this is an area where Scotland currently leads the world. It would be a tragedy if this lead, and the good jobs and extra investment it could create, were to be sacrificed through inaction.
“The Labour government did a positive thing by setting up the Marine Renewables Development Fund, but they did not actually invest the largest part of it. There is currently £42 million of funding just sitting there, which no one has been able to access. It has to be an urgent priority for the new Secretary of State to make sure this money gets to the companies that need it.”
The text of Jo’s question to the Secretary of State for Scotland appears below:
Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire, Liberal Democrat):
I welcome my right hon. Friend to his position. I am pleased to hear what he said about marine renewables, for which Scotland clearly has a massive potential, yet six years after it was set up, the marine renewables development fund still has £42 million lying unclaimed and unused because of the criteria attached to it. Will my right hon. Friend look into the matter and ensure that under this Government the support announced for green energy becomes reality?
Michael Moore (Secretary of State, Scotland; Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, Liberal Democrat):
I thank my hon. Friend for her kind welcome. I take on board her observations about the criteria that have been used, and I look forward to having further discussions with her and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.