AN EXTRA £100 million will be made available to support green energy projects in Scotland after a deal was stuck between Holyrood and Westminster.
Chancellor George Osborne announced the Scottish Government would be able to spend half of the cash in the fossil fuel levy fund.
The fund, currently worth about £200 million, is held in London but can only be spent to promote the use of energy from renewable sources in Scotland.
SNP ministers have made repeated calls to be allowed to access the funding pot - which is made up with cash from suppliers of non-renewable energy sources.
Today, Mr Osborne revealed an agreement had been reached with the SNP administration that would allow them to spend half the cash in the fund.
The other half of the money will be made available to support the capitalisation of the £3 billion UK-wide Green Investment Bank.
Holyrood Finance Secretary John Swinney said the “announcement, though long overdue, is welcome nonetheless”.
He added: “For too long Scotland’s money has been sitting unspent in an Ofgem account in London.
“We have consistently pressed the UK Government to deliver a pragmatic solution that accelerates the release of funding for renewable energy projects that are ready to go now in Scotland.
“The proposal we put to the UK Government has at last broken this logjam and made over £100 million additional funding available now - vital funding to support further renewables investment and make the Green Investment Bank a reality for ongoing support.”
In the future, as further money becomes available via the fossil fuel levy fund, this will be split equally between the two governments.
Details of the agreement were revealed as Mr Osborne and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander visited the Nigg Yard on the Cromarty Firth.
The sale of the former fabrication yard was announced last month, with new owners Global Energy Group planning on transforming the site into a major manufacturer of green-energy machinery, creating up to 2,000 jobs by 2015
Mr Osborne said: “The UK Government is making sure that it gives certainty to the renewable sector in Scotland by providing an additional £100 million in funding.
“The UK coalition Government is committed to creating jobs across Scotland - particularly in the green-energy sector.
“It’s great news that we have been able to cut through the arguments and the wrangling with the Scottish Government that have stopped this money being invested in the past.
“It shows how serious the UK Government is in its support for Scotland’s green future.”
Mr Alexander said: “Scotland is a world player in renewable energy and visiting Nigg today has highlighted the potential for developing this sector even further.
“It has huge potential for creating jobs and driving growth over the next few years.
“I am very pleased to announce this £100 million in additional funding for the Scottish Government, which will directly help renewable and particularly marine energy development in Scotland.
“The UK Government is strongly committed to supporting the growth of this sector in Scotland in the long term.”