The SNP has left a multimillion pound renewables fund languishing in a bank account for more than five years – despite publicly criticising the decision to withdraw support for the carbon capture and storage scheme at Peterhead.
The Scottish Government has been accused of hypocrisy after it emerged the £10million Saltire Prize has been untouched since its high-profile launch in 2008.
Party members – including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Energy Minister Fergus Ewing – have been vocal in their criticism of George Osborne’s decision to axe the £1billion CCS fund, for which Peterhead was a front runner.
But last night, the Scottish Liberal Democrats Energy Spokesman, Liam McArthur, said it was hypocritical for the SNP to complain about the decision when they had failed to use cash they had specifically set aside to help boost renewables.
The Orkney MSP agreed the decision to scrap the CCS fund was “disgraceful” – but he questioned why the Scottish Government was not using the funds they had available to support the industry.
The Saltire Prize, designed to support wave and tidal power, was launched with much fanfare in 2008.
Mr McArthur, who has written to Mr Ewing on the issue, said: “I have noted your description of the decision (to axe the CCS funding) as ‘a disgrace’ and that it shows a complete disregard for tackling climate change.
“In recent weeks, however, I have become concerned at the failure of the Scottish Government to step up to the plate when it comes to tackling climate change.
“The Saltire Prize was designed to make Scotland a world leader in wave and tidal power.
“However, rather than immediately investing in an industry key to meeting the reductions required in greenhouse gas emissions, the Scottish Government has allowed £10million to sit unused in the Saltire Prize bank account.”
He said the issue was particularly pressing because the government is likely to miss its emissions targets for 2020 and 2050.
He added: “These are stretching targets and already the signs are that we are not on a path to meet them.
“It is all the more worrying, therefore, that the Scottish Government does not appear to be doing everything possible to get us back on track and is withholding vital funding that could provide additional support to the marine renewables sector now.
“I am therefore repeating my call for you and the Scottish Government to immediately make the £10million Saltire Prize available for pioneering wave energy firms so the carbon emission targets required by this country can be met.”