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Energy Transition Projects in Scotland

Volume 691: debated on Tuesday 23 March 2021

The Chancellor’s Budget recently announced significant investment for energy transition projects in Scotland. We hope to shortly announce the North sea transition deal, which will play a vital role in transitioning the oil and gas industry to low carbon alternatives.

COP26 will allow Scotland to showcase existing and emerging net-zero technologies, but, policy-wise, we need to see a minimum floor mechanism for pumped storage hydro. We need innovation power purchase agreements available for wave and tidal, a contract for difference for hydrogen and the go-ahead for the Acorn carbon capture and storage project. Will the Minister meet me to discuss these matters and take the necessary actions ahead of COP26?

It is always a pleasure to meet the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Alan Brown) to discuss these matters. COP26 is such an important moment, not only with our carrying the responsibility of the presidency to help encourage other countries to do more to reach their net-zero targets, but in order to showcase the genuinely world-leading decisions that we have taken to drive our own net zero.

My hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Alan Brown) just mentioned a number of areas where the UK Government can and should invest in Scotland. But we do not just need cash; we need a level playing field. That is particularly true in relation to the electricity grid. I am sure that the Minister is aware that a new renewables project in Scotland will have to pay in excess of £4 per unit to access the grid, whereas the renewables project in the south-east of England gets paid £1 per unit to access the very same grid. That is no Union of equals. Scotland has the ability to lead Europe in the renewables field. Why are the Tories trying to hold us back?

Scotland has indeed played an important part, particularly in the wind development sector. The Chancellor’s Budget included £5 million for the global underwater hub in Aberdeen, £2 million for the North sea transition deal and £27 million for the Aberdeen energy transition zone. This is just one part of the whole net zero challenge that we are looking to take on. We look forward to continuing to work with our Scottish colleagues.