Scottish government launches £10m Saltire Fund

  • Feb 10, 2019
  • BBC Scotland

A £10m prize for the development of technology to harness tidal power has been relaunched in Scotland.

The Scottish government said it was offering the Saltire Fund to help commercialise clean energy and lower operating costs.

It comes after the original competition, conceived in 2008, was ended in 2017 without anyone claiming the reward.

Industry bosses have welcomed the new fund.

The Saltire Prize faded from public focus after the deadline to produce award-winning renewable technology passed without a winner.

The original prize was offered for the development of wave and tidal energy. However, the two are now recognised as separate entities following the collapse of wave power firms such as Aquamarine Power and Pelamis.

Tidal energy has now progressed while wave technology has effectively gone back to the laboratory.

To reflect the change in the industry, the prize has now been relaunched as the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund.

'Commercial realities'

The Scottish government has also proposed to invest a further £10m in Wave Energy Scotland (WES) by 2020.

Hannah Smith, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: "This new fund will help tidal energy developers innovate and lower costs - crucial when many are deploying devices which can already reliably produce electricity, but which are locked out of the energy market because they must compete with technologies like offshore wind, which has secured support to deploy at scale and deliver staggering cost reductions.

"It is important that any package of support recognises both the need to fund innovation in this promising sector and the commercial realities faced by developers."

Scotland's Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said the investment climate had also been "harmed" by a UK government decision to remove a ring-fenced subsidy for marine energy.

He added: "We believe that tidal energy can not only play an important role in our own future energy system, but it has substantial export potential.

"The industry has taken momentous steps forward in recent years, and we are proud to have supported that, but the path to commercialisation is taking longer, and proving more difficult, than initially expected."

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