EU cash for UK clean energy plans

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The Independent Online

A £1.3 billion EU cash injection for "clean" energy plans across Europe includes £262 million for wind power and carbon capture and storage in the UK, the European Commission announced today.

The 15 Europe-wide projects to benefit include the "HVDC hub" in Scotland (£66 million), which will connect offshore wind and marine generation in Shetland to the Scottish mainland.

An offshore wind farm near Aberdeen gets £36m, and the remaining £160 million goes to a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project in Hatfield, South Yorkshire. Similar CCS projects in Kingsnorth, Kent, and Longannet in Fife, were put on a reserve list for funding.

EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said the funding reinforced the Commission's commitment to tackling climate change.

"With this decision, the Commission has laid the foundation for the development of two key sustainable technologies that will be essential in our fight against climate change," he said in Brussels.

"This decision not only gives a push to the economy and employment, but it also supports innovative energy technologies that may create further jobs and growth in future."

Today's cash grants are the first handouts from a £3.6 billion pot set aside by the Commission six months ago to promote energy projects which support economic recovery - part of wider EU measures introduced in the wake of the downturn.

A Commission statement said: "In promoting CCS technology, the Commission recognises the continued importance of fossil-fuelled power in Europe and the need to adapt to a low carbon energy system.

"The offshore wind energy projects enhance the development and consolidation of a competitive offshore wind industry in Europe and create numerous 'green jobs'. These award-winning innovative energy technology projects will contribute to the binding targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction and renewables by 2020 and beyond."