Wednesday, 17 December 2008

EU's major boost for Scotland's climate change effort

The European Parliament finally adopted the EU climate change package today - I watched the vote from the office in Brussels. There was a sense of achievement when the climate change package went through and from the Parliament's side all those who worked on the details of the deal should be commended for the effort that went in. Out of all the legislation, MEPs passed today the most crucial one for Scotland was the adoption of the renewables package. With the setting of a 20% renewables target by 2020 the boost this will bring to Scotland's renewables industry will be massive. It will see increased EU funding and research resources for energy infrastructure projects, including the North Sea supergrid, cut red tape for renewables and ensure there is priority access for connecting renewables to the grid.

The carbon capture and storage package is also key for Scotland not least because of the support it will provide to the CCS industry in Scotland in terms of giving the industry legal certainty for investments. Once again, the EU's support for carbon capture and storage in Scotland is well recognised which is in complete contrast to the attitude in London which pulled the plug on Scotland's opportunity to lead on CCS technology through the Peterhead power station project. Scottish Power's Longannet coal fired power plant is currently bidding to win the UK's CCS pilot competition- I hope this time round all parties will back Scotland's bid to lead in this area.

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