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Fife grasps the renewable energy opportunity

The announcement made by The Crown Estate today for a further wind farm site located in deep water off the coast of Fife presents a huge opportunity for the local economy. This new development is in addition to the 4 proposed sites which have already been announced. All of these are located within a short sailing distance of the Energy Park Fife in Methil which would be an ideal base for companies in this sector.

The 5 sites in total are expected to generate 5880MW of renewable power from 1176 wind turbines by 2018. The development will require investment of up to £14bn. Many Fife companies may be well suited to supplying the renewables sector and can benefit from involvement in the supply chain for this rapidly growing industry.

Fife companies plan to invest nearly £400m into renewable energy projects between now and 2013, putting Fife on target to be the first major local authority area to meet the Scottish Government’s green energy targets.

A report on ‘Growing Fife’s Future – The Renewable Energy Opportunity’ was launched by Fife Council Development Services at Tullis Russell today (8th January 2010). The report highlights how Fife companies are committed to investing nearly £400m that will create jobs and reduce carbon emissions. These investments will help to achieve the ambitious targets set by the Scottish Government. Scotland is committed to reducing carbon emissions from all sources by 42% and to generating 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The report also identifies the massive opportunity within the renewable energy sector to grow the in Fife economy.

Peter Grant, Leader of Fife Council said; ‘Fife Council is working hard to reduce its own carbon emissions and become the leading green council in Scotland. We're also seeing green energy initiatives being led by many of our major employers. We believe the challenging targets set by the Scottish Government are achievable and we believe that by 2013 Fife will be in the enviable position of producing enough green energy to power every one of the Kingdom's 169,010 homes.’

If Fife is to meet the targets it’s vital that the business community continues to lead the way and reduce emissions in Fife.

Markinch based papermaker Tullis Russell has just signed a multi-million pound deal with RWE npower renewables to build and run a biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system to replace their coal fired boilers. The £200M plant, which is due to go into operation in 2012, will have an installed capacity of 50MW, enough to power all the homes in Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline. It will reduce Tullis Russell's fossil fuel CO2 emissions by some 250,000 tonnes each year, supply all their steam and electricity needs for manufacturing and export surplus power to the grid for local consumption.

There are a number of major projects currently taking place in Fife which have the potential to create up to 2,000 green jobs by 2020. Scottish Power is currently bidding to make Longannet the first power station in the world to retro-fit Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology. If they are successful CCS could reduce Scotland’s total carbon emissions by around 25% and create a number of highly skilled jobs in the surrounding area.

International drinks company Diageo is aiming to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% by 2015. As part of their £65m distillery expansion at Cameronbridge they are working with energy specialists Dalkia to install a new power generation plant consisting of a biomass CHP system and an anaerobic digester. The plant will provide approximately 90% of their energy needs.

‘The Renewable Energy Opportunity’ report also explains how the shift towards a low carbon economy is a great opportunity for Fife’s economy to grow. Fife Council and Scottish Enterprise are attempting to attract jobs to the region by ploughing significant investment into projects in Fife such as the £13m investment in to the 2nd phase of develop at the Energy Park Fife in Methil.

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive, Scottish Renewables said: “Fife is one of the leading supporters of renewable energy in Scotland, and the council has shown real vision and ambition to grow the area’s sustainable energy sector.

“Renewables and other clean technologies are the future, but there are already many local companies taking the initiative and grasping the massive opportunities that the growth in renewable energy presents – both at home and abroad. This has seen the creation of many new highly paid and highly skilled jobs for local people.

“With such a diverse range of projects already committed as well as a number in the pipeline, Fife Council could achieve its target of 2,000 new Green jobs before 2020, which would be great news for the environment and for the local economy.”

Cllr Tony Martin, Chair of Fife Council’s Environment, Enterprise and Transportation Committee said: “With over £400m of investment already committed along with billions of potential investment from CCS and Offshore Wind Fife has a massive opportunity to become Scotland’s leading hub for renewable energy.”

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