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Scotland to push ahead with renewables

Scotland is pushing ahead in its drive to become the green energy capital of Europe, Energy Minister Jim Mather said today.

He told an international gathering that the Government would continue to create the right conditions for the renewables industry to boost economic growth and contribute to a low carbon economy.

Speaking at the All Energy 08 conference in Aberdeen, Jim Mather said: "In our first year of government, we have put renewable energy at the heart of our vision of increasing Scotland's sustainable economic growth.

"Installed renewables capacity is now greater than nuclear capacity. The Scottish Government has set new, ambitious targets for renewable electricity, speeded up the planning process and determined 13 energy project proposals.

“We are looking at offshore grid links across the North Sea and with Ireland to export the electricity we generate. And along with industry, we have challenged the regressive electricity charging regime which acts against the development of renewable energy in remoter areas.

The Scottish Government has set a target to produce 31 per cent of electricity demand from renewable sources by 2011, and 50 per cent by 2020, and its Energy Consents Unit is currently processing 35 renewable project applications - 27 wind farm and eight hydro projects.