Energy call

Yousaf says Westminster ‘holding back’ green plan

Humza Yousaf: ‘leading from the front’

First Minister Humza Yousaf will today warn that Scotland’s renewables revolution risks being held back by the UK Government’s failure to be a “willing partner” in driving investment.

In his first major business speech since succeeding Nicola Sturgeon, Mr Yousaf will call on Westminster to match his ambition to “lead from the front” on delivering a cleaner energy future.

He will also acknowledge the competitive pressures from countries such as the US which are offering subsidies to country’s investing in green technologies.

The US’s Inflation Reduction Act – the $400bn set of green subsidies introduced by the White House – is attracting substantial investment, and encouraging some firms to switch their plans to invest in new technologies from the UK.

Liam Condon, chief executive of Johnson Matthey, the chemicals and metals company which is currently responsible for most of the world’s catalytic convertors, is the latest to warn that the UK risked losing out on battery and hydrogen technology unless it offered similar incentives.

AMTE Power, the UK’s only home-grown battery company, with a factory in Thurso and plans for a gigafactory in Dundee, said it was considering relocating some of its production to the US.

Mr Yousaf will urge the UK Government to commit to a number of measures including the Acorn carbon, capture and storage scheme which is currently on a reserve list.

He also wants the UK government to match the Scottish Government’s £500 million Just Transition Fund for the North East and Moray.

In today’s address to a renewables conference in Glasgow, the First Minister is expected to announce the next step in Scotland’s renewable hydrogen journey.

Speaking ahead of the event, he said: The Scottish Government sees the move to net zero as the biggest economic opportunity this country has, as well as being an environmental necessity.

“There is a global climate emergency and the Government I lead is determined to support the energy sector in every way we can as we make progress towards net zero.”

He adds: “For our part, the Scottish Government will lead from the front when it comes to key measures to deliver a Just Transition, ensuring no workers are left behind.

“We will seek to work closely with partners, including the wider industry, and of course the UK Government, who hold many of the key powers in relation to energy.

“Action from the UK Government is essential to ensure that both Scotland and the UK meet our climate targets and harness the economic benefits of the Just Transition.

“But the truth is, like so many areas of the Brexit-based economy, that the UK risks falling further behind comparable countries, and throwing away the transformational green opportunities available to Scotland, unless there is an urgent change.

“Under my leadership, we are ready to step up and accept we need to go further and faster – but we urgently need the UK Government to take decisive action as well.

“In the face of generous subsidies being offered elsewhere, we need the UK Government to be a willing partner by committing to a much more ambitious strategy for encouraging green investment – in order to ensure that Scotland and the rest of the UK are not left behind in the race for global capital.”

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