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Unlocking new opportunities for energy

As a nation, Scotland can showcase world-leading energy innovation – such as the world’s first floating windfarm and state of the art Off-shore renewable energy testing facilities in Fife

Iain Gulland | 21 Nov 17

In parallel the proportion of our energy needs met from renewable sources continues to grow, and Scotland’s more traditional oil and gas sector has helped to develop exportable and transferrable knowledge and skills, whilst remaining an important part of the country’s industrial landscape.

Whether oil platforms and their ocean bed cables or wind turbines and solar PV infrastructure; the assets involved represent a substantial investment for Scotland. And with the nation’s burgeoning reputation as a circular economy leader comes a large-scale opportunity to maximise their value.

The energy sector is one in which innovative circular economy ideas can generate real, transformative change simply by thinking longer term about the assets Scotland has.

Zero Waste Scotland research shows that energy is one of a handful of sectors with the highest potential for remanufacturing growth in Scotland – a means of keeping assets in high-value use that has the potential to create an additional £620 million turnover and 5,700 new jobs by 2020.

It’s why SME businesses in Scotland’s energy supply chain are being urged to apply for up to £1million in grant funding, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, to help them unlock new opportunities for business and be part of Scotland’s circular economy revolution.

The circular economy represents a move away from the ‘one way’ relationship of creating and delivering a product or service, only for it to be disposed of at end of life. It instead inspires a cradle-to-cradle approach that realises the financial value of assets throughout their usable life and beyond.

It’s also a chance for businesses in the energy supply chain to future-proof their activity, increasing resilience against rising costs and benefitting from the transition towards green energy.

Circular economy business models are already out there within the energy sector – from ‘leasing light’ models offered by companies such as Juice, to the Dutch architecture firm incorporating old turbine blades into playground design. Yet the market is still wide open for those with innovative ideas to bring them to commercialisation.

The circular economy represents an opportunity for the energy supply chain not just to be more sustainable, but to prosper well into the future.

The £18 million Circular Economy Investment Fund, administered by Zero Waste Scotland, offers investment for SMEs based in Scotland and supports work that will deliver circular economy growth. It is supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the £73million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.

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