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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 May 2006, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
More cash for green home projects
Solar Panels
The SCHRI can help with the cost of installing solar panels
More funding for green energy systems in Scotland's homes has been announced.

The 3m over two years will go to the Scottish Community and Householder Renewables Initiative (SCHRI) to fund small-scale projects.

The scheme has been at the centre of a political row after it emerged that the original 2.2m budget was over-subscribed and had been frozen.

The Scottish Greens said the funding was "derisory" and showed the Scottish Executive did not support the industry.

Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen announced the funding during the launch of a SCHRI-funded water-sourced heat pump at New Lanark Heritage Site.

He said demand for SCHRI funding had grown steadily since the initiative began in 2002.

To come up with 1.5m extra per year is about the worst insult the industry could get
Shiona Baird
Co-convenor of Scottish Greens

"Wind turbines on top of houses are an increasingly common sight, while schemes like wood-fired boilers and solar panels are also becoming popular," he said.

"I want to see Scotland take its place as the renewables powerhouse of Europe.

"Smaller micro-renewables developments have a big role to play in that goal and we are determined to do all we can do to help support this drive."

Mr Stephen said the executive had given the SCHRI 12.65m since its inception and had helped more than 600 individual and community projects across Scotland.

However, the Scottish Greens said the funding amounted to just a fraction of that available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Recent budget

The party's co-convenor Shiona Baird said the government has committed 59m to renewables and micro-power in Northern Ireland.

In England and Wales, 50m for micro-renewables was announced in the recent Budget.

Nicol Stephen
Mr Stephen said he wanted Scotland to be a "renewables powerhouse"

"After months of delays and uncertainty, to come up with 1.5m extra per year is about the worst insult the industry could get," Ms Baird said.

"The executive is quite obviously not interested in support for the micro-renewable industry, and more interested in trying to save face with photo opportunities.

"Compared to the vast amounts of cash reaching into the billions for climate-wrecking road building projects, this announcement makes it clearer than ever that ministers cannot be taken seriously on climate change."

The SNP's energy spokesman Richard Lochhead said: "Scotland has the potential to be a world leader in both the development and use of such technology and so we must continue to strive to achieve real progress in this area.

"While the additional 1.5m will assist with the development of the sector in Scotland, we need a far greater level of funding to ensure that the demand for this technology is met."

'Daft situation'

He warned that if Labour and the Liberal Democrats failed to support the programme properly, it would be a further setback to the industry and Scotland's environmental ambitions.

Stuart Hay, head of research at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: "The executive's support for this growing industry must not stop with this announcement.

"If climate change is to be tackled and the considerable potential for Scottish manufacturing jobs in this industry realised, it is essential that further support is forthcoming.

"It is time to end the daft situation where it is easier to install a satellite dish than a climate-saving solar panel."

Micro-renewables include solar panels, small-scale wind turbines and heat pumps.

The executive said it was committed to having 40% of electricity in Scotland generated by renewable sources by 2020.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See how the extra funds will be allocated



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