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9 December 2011

£1.3m green energy boost for Africa

The Scottish Government is today seeking funding proposals to deliver high quality projects in Malawi and sub-Saharan Africa worth £1.3 million.

Speaking from the United Nations climate change conference in Durban, Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson officially opened the funding round and welcomed applications from Scottish organisations with relevant skills and expertise.

The Scottish Government is seeking proposals for renewable projects in Malawi and sub-Saharan Africa.Renewable energy is a priority area for the Scottish Government. Proposals are specifically welcomed which address this important issue by delivering sustainable energy for all and helping mitigate against the effects of climate change in developing countries.

The announcement of the latest round of the Scottish Government's International Development Fund comes as Scotland enters talks to pioneer the first pilot carbon capture programme (CCS) on African soil, Mr Stevenson announced today.

After delegates from the South African Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage (SACCCS) visited Scotland earlier this year, representatives from the Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage Centre (SCCS) will travel to South Africa in February to assess the feasibility of establishing a pilot Carbon Capture plant, as part of a South African programme developing capacity in this area.

Scotland is an international model of a low carbon economy and the Scottish Government wants to share expertise and technology with developing countries, who will be hit the hardest by a changing climate.

Mr Stevenson said:

"Scotland has a long legacy for pioneering successful projects - be it exploration or invention. Today's announcement ticks both these boxes.

"I am delighted to officially open the International Development funding rounds which will encourage high quality bids for renewable energy projects in Malawi, with projects of up to £400,000 in value. While in Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia we will fund one project in each country - a total of £1.3 million over three years. Renewable energy and food security are the main areas this funding will address. Scotland can play a vital role in helping these developing countries create a sustainable energy and hopefully an economic commodity.

"We also see huge potential in developing CCS technology in countries which use fossil fuels. We are happy to share our understanding of this emerging technique, which not only benefits the environment by reducing the amount of carbon ejected into the atmosphere, but also creates a new economic opportunity."

For example, by using mostly existing North Sea subsea infrastructure, Scotland would have the capacity to store 50% of Europe's fossil fuel derived CO2 emissions. South Africa is heavily dependent on coal consumption and demonstrating the capacity to capture the carbon emitted would be a significant development in terms of South Africa's commitment to meet their carbon dioxide target.

Professor Jon Gibbins, a member of SCCS, welcomed the growing South African participation in CCS research:

"Every country will have specific requirements for the CCS plants they deploy, but we all have a tremendous amount to gain by sharing insights and experience in this very important CO2 emission mitigation technology"

Gail Wilson, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland Co-ordinator said:

"The Scottish Government has regularly supported important and innovative projects overseas and this latest focus on renewable energy is very welcome. Scotland is a world leader with its domestic emission reduction targets, and today's announcement demonstrates how knowledge, research and funding from Scotland can make a difference in other countries also seeking to develop green and low carbon futures."

The Scottish Government has strengthened its support for developing countries on climate change over the last two years, focusing on renewable energy development and mitigation. This includes:
  • The Maldives Partnership and the publication of the Scottish Government funded Marine Energy Study
  • International Development funding of 137,638 pounds (over three years) has supported a solar energy project in rural communities in Malawi, run by Strathclyde University.
Commonwealth Games Fellowships funded from Scottish Government carbon levy on travel. The first six fellowships recently visited Scotland and met Mr Stevenson.

International partnerships with the Inter-American Development Bank, the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute and exploring further work on renewable energy with Malawi.

SCCS is the largest carbon storage grouping in the UK comprising in excess of 65 researchers and is unique in its connected strength across the full CCS chain, as well as in its biochar capability. Funding for this visit will come from the Scottish Government's Low Carbon Economy budget. Such a carbon capture programme would complement the South African CCS Centre's existing work on CO2 storage, supported in part by the UK.

Stewart Stevenson
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fiosZS is a name registered in Scotland for Stewart Stevenson

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