John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth says: “The move to a low-carbon economy will see the development of low carbon goods, processes and services in rapidly expanding markets, alongside high levels of efficiency.”
The Low Carbon Economic Strategy aims to focus public sector support on low-carbon industries whilst forging new private sector and international partnerships.
The importance of this cooperation is highlighted by Lena Wilson, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise who says that having a strategy in place that will “allow the public and private sectors to focus and work together” will in turn “deliver the best return on investment.”
Actions in the Strategy include:
- Co-ordinated support for businesses and academia in the environmental and clean technologies sector in order to maximise opportunities in a market potentially worth £12 billion to Scotland’s economy;
- Channelling innovation support to low carbon technologies where there is greatest chance of commercial success. In order to implicate this the Scottish Government will reprioritise £15m of innovation funding from the Lowlands and Uplands European Structural Funds Programme, which, along with match-funding from the private sector and other public sector funders, could create £60m pounds of support for low carbon activity;
- Supporting the planning, design and construction of new infrastructure and the retrofit of existing facilities to support low-carbon activity, such as renewable energy and electric vehicle infrastructure;
- Supporting skills development through the Low Carbon Skills Fund and working with partners and employers to predict and respond to future skills demands; and
- Holding an annual Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference, with next year’s focus being investment for resource and energy efficiency.
The Low Carbon Economic Strategy also outlines the scale of the economic opportunities for Scotland. The country’s low carbon market is forecast to rise to around £12bn pounds by 2015-16; jobs in the low carbon sector could grow by 4% a year to 2020, rising from 70,000 to 130,000; and offshore wind could bring an estimated £30bn pounds of inward investment.