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14 north-east businesses share £2.5 million cash for energy transition

ETZ says its Challenge Fund grants have unlocked an additional £5m in private investment in the north-east.

Peterhead Port
Peterhead Port has secured funding of around £222,000. Image: Peterhead Port Authority

Aberdeen Energy Transition Zone firm ETZ has awarded grants to 14 more north-east firms from a £2.5 million fund focused on net-zero and new jobs.

The Energy Transition Supply Chain Pathway and Challenge Fund provides grants of up to £25,000 to help businesses shift their focus from oil and gas into new or existing opportunities in green energy.

Open to companies in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray, the scheme is backed by the Scottish Government’s £500m Just Transition Fund.

ETZ’s latest awards are going to projects covering offshore wind, hydrogen, electricity grids and low-carbon heating.

Announcing them in Aberdeen today, Small Business Minister Richard Lochhead said the initiative had alreday supported 25 companies in total.

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Richard Lochhead MSP.

The funding helps to unlock private capital investment in the region’s energy transition, Mr Lochhead said.

It also supports the supply chain to pursue new energy opportunities and create high quality sustainable green jobs, he added.

The Moray MSP continued: “We must ensure Scotland’s move to net-zero is managed fairly for workers in existing industries and across communities.

“Taking advantage of the oil and gas industry’s expertise and ingenuity to transition to a clean energy future will help us achieve our net-zero targets and create good green jobs.”

Grants have ‘unlocked’ £5m investment in north-east

ETZ Challenge Fund grants range between £50,000 and £250,000 and are matched by company contributions.

To be eligible, businesses must have an existing relationship with ETZ. Project outcomes must positively impact the north-east.

Granite City-based ETZ is a not-for-profit company funded by the Scottish and UK governments, as well as economic development partnership Opportunity North East.

It said its grants had unlocked an additional £5m in private investment in the north-east green energy sector.

Freda Miller, energy supply chain programme manager, ETZ, said 11 companies had previously benefited through a pilot programme launched last year.

She added: “The fund was set up to accelerate the development of new industry-related facilities, new equipment and existing infrastructure upgrades, including digital infrastructure, and to drive innovation and market entry.

“By doing this, it can support company growth and create sustainable jobs with the result that the north-east achieves an accelerated and successful energy transition.”

Freda Miller, energy supply chain programme manager, ETZ.

Boost to North East manufacturing

Aberdeen firm AJT Engineering received a £250,000 grant in the pilot scheme and managing director David Scalley said the fund had been a “timely and pivotal resource”.

Mr Scalley added the company was now “embarking on an exciting journey into broader renewable energy markets”.

Firms awarded grants in the latest funding round include Portlethen-based Cebo UK.

It received £250,000 towards the purchase of eight mobile silos used for wind farm construction.

Cebo UK manager Richard Forbes said the cash will be “instrumental” in advancing the company’s energy transition strategy.

ETZ’s grants are aimed at driving forward the region’s energy transition.

Westhill-based Power Jacks has also received £250,000, which is being invested in new machinery focused on electric vehicle and offshore wind manufacturing.

PowerJacks manufacturing and continuous improvement director Gary Caunt said the grant will allow the firm to manufacture components it previously imported, improving its margins and competitiveness.

Mr Caunt added: “Additionally, it will support entry into offshore wind turbine applications.”

ETZ Challenge Fund grants

The full list of firms awarded grants in the latest funding round includes:

A new round of Challenge Fund grants will be launched by ETZ in 2024.

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