North east of Scotland set for green energy cash boost

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The north east of Scotland is set to receive a multi-million boost in the Budget to help the planned transition from oil and gas jobs to green energy.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce £27m for the planned Aberdeen Energy Transition Zone (ETZ).

It aims to transform the area into a hub for cleaner energies such as offshore wind and hydrogen.

The Budget will also include £5m for an underwater technology centre based in the city.

And up to £2m will to allocated to support the continued development of industry proposals for the North Sea Transition Deal.

The investment is designed to support jobs as the oil and gas industry decarbonises and diversifies to cleaner energies.

Recent industry reports suggest that the oil and gas sector directly supports about 20,000 jobs in the Aberdeen area.

Mr Sunak said: "The measures set out in tomorrow's Budget will boost Scotland's transformation into a green energy hub, deliver on our commitment to net zero, and deliver a boost that cities and industry need."

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image captionThe oil and gas industry is estimated to support more than 20,000 direct jobs in the Aberdeen area

Economic development agency Opportunity North East (One), which has led plans to set up an energy transition zone in the area later this year, said it was "a hugely welcome boost" for Aberdeen and the north east.

'Integrated energy cluster'

Chairman Sir Ian Wood said: "Opportunity North East and its partners have maintained a clear ambition to transform the region into a globally integrated energy cluster, focused on accelerating to net zero through energy transition activities.

"There is no doubt that the north east is uniquely positioned within Scotland and the UK to take advantage of this massive opportunity.

"As we continue to transition from oil and gas, the energy transition zone will allow us to develop a world-class supply chain and create new significant green job and investment opportunities."

image captionSir Ian Wood said the ETZ will help create new "significant green job and investment opportunities".

Sir Ian added: "We are in advanced discussions with the Scottish government in terms of securing similar levels of financial support for the energy transition zone and are confident we can progress with this exciting new project at pace.

"I'm also particularly pleased that the additional funding is being made available from the UK government for the North Sea Transition Deal and Global Underwater Hub."

Growth deals

Meanwhile, the chancellor is expected to announce that spending already committed to so-called growth deals in Falkirk, Ayrshire and Argyll and Bute is to be accelerated.

The Treasury said the £25.8m investment boost would "re-energise" sectors such as infrastructure, aerospace, digital and tourism.

It is "reprofiling" the growth deals so they are delivered over 10 rather than 15 years.

The Ayrshire Growth Deal will receive an extra £3.4m per year from 2021/22 for the remaining 10 years of the deal, which is focused on regeneration, infrastructure and aerospace technology.

The Argyll and Bute Growth Deal will receive an extra £800,000 per year from 2022-23, while the Falkirk Growth Deal will receive an extra £1.3m per year from 2022-23.

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