COP26: Millions announced for projects to accelerate energy transition

Projects to reduce emissions in the North Sea oil sector have been given a £28m joint boost from the Scottish Government and oil and gas industries, in a bid to speed up energy transition and create 21,000 green jobs by 2050.

More cash for projects to decarbonise the energy sector has been announced.

Seven schemes, being led by the Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC), will receive the funding as the government attempts to meet its net zero target of 2045.

The Scottish announcement comes as the UK government also revealed a new £5m research programme to help the UK become more resilient to the impacts of climate change, including heatwaves, flooding and extreme storms.

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Both governments have ramped up their spending and rhetoric on tackling the climate challenge ahead of the COP26 UN summit in Glasgow this November.

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Announcing the funding, part of the £62m Energy Transition Fund, net zero minister Michael Matheson said: "The Scottish Government is wholly committed to ending our contribution to climate change by 2045, and doing so in a way that ensures a just transition to net zero, making sure no-one is left behind.

"We want to secure jobs for the energy workforce and create new jobs in the north east – and across Scotland – by seizing the huge opportunities our energy transition and wider journey to net zero present.

"The Energy Transition Fund is helping the energy sector to grow and diversify and accelerate the journey to net zero, and underpins the north-east's ambitions to become a world leader in this transition.

"This funding will help the Net Zero Technology Centre, working with industry and academia, to grow Scotland's role as a global leader in net zero technology solutions, delivering security of energy supply, diversifying the sector, and creating the next generation of highly skilled, green jobs."

The projects involved include “energy hubs” producing low carbon hydrogen which can be integrated with Scotland’s offshore wind resources, a plan to export hydrogen by repurposing existing pipelines, developing gas turbines to provide a low carbon alternative to natural gas and the building of an offshore industrial Robots and Autonomous System centre focused on supporting the energy transition.

NZTC chief executive Colette Cohen described the funding as an "important milestone… which will drive the development of key technologies for green growth in Scotland and the UK, create jobs, attract investment and help establish a world-class net-zero supply chain".

Oil and Gas UK chief executive Deirdre Michie also welcomed the funding: "The UK's offshore oil and gas industry is changing and this is further recognition of its essential expertise in meeting the governments' net zero emissions targets.

"This is welcome support for the Net Zero Technology Centre and for the many companies in our sector which are pioneering homegrown greener energy while continuing to support the UK's ongoing oil and gas demand."

Meanwhile the UK government’s £5m four-year research programme ‘Climate Services for a Net Zero Resilient World’, will be led by a consortium of authorities in environmental science.

COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma said: “This essential research which helps the UK work with governments around the world to deliver ambitious plans to decarbonise and reduce emissions has never been more important. From flooding to wildfires – the extreme weather events we’ve recently witnessed show how crucial it is for communities to build resilience and protect their futures.”

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