The Scottish government, along with the UK oil and gas industry, has pledged funding to help support the nation's goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2045, while the UK government is carrying out new research into the impact of climate change.

The Aberdeen-based Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC) confirmed it had been awarded a total of £16.5 million (US$22.9 million) to help accelerate seven projects it expects will help deliver £403 billion for the economy and 21,000 jobs by 2050.

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The funds are being awarded through the Scottish government’s Energy Transition Fund and will be match-funded by industry to the tune of about £34 million.

“We want to secure jobs for the energy workforce and create new jobs in the north east - and across Scotland - by seizing the huge opportunities our energy transition and wider journey to net-zero present,” said Scotland’s Net Zero and Energy Secretary, Michael Matheson, said on Friday.

NZTC's Net Zero Technology Transition Programme

Energy Hub – hubs where gigawatt-scale low carbon hydrogen can be produced and integrated with Scotland’s offshore wind resource. This project will receive £2.8 million of funding, match-funded by industry to £5.6 million

Hydrogen Backbone Link – unlocking Scotland’s hydrogen export potential by developing pan-European infrastructure. This project will receive £1.6 million of funding, match-funded by industry to £3.2 million.

Alternative Fuel Gas Turbines – developing a low carbon alternative to natural gas to help decarbonise offshore and onshore operations without extensive modifications. This project will receive £2.3 million of funding, match-funded by industry to £4.6 million.

Offshore Low Touch Energy Robotics and Autonomous Systems (OLTER) – building a best-in-class offshore Industrial RAS (Robots and Autonomous System) centre in Scotland, focused on supporting the energy transition and positioning the country as an international leader in deploying robotic and automation technologies. This project will receive £4.5 million of funding, match-funded by industry to £9.6 million.

Offshore manning optimisation – enable industry to employ remote operations technology and optimise future working environments across the offshore energy sector, with a future project phase creating a remote operations centre of excellence in Scotland. This project will receive £2.45 million of funding, match-funded by industry to £4.9 million

Data for net zero (D4NZ) – a programme of research projects that will will power forward a reimagined offshore energy system enabled by data sharing and evidence-based decision-making. This project will receive £2.5 million of funding, match-funded by industry to £5.3 million

Offshore Energy Digital Architecture – developing a sector-wide digital and data architecture to enable the future offshore energy system, improve data visibility and demonstrate that critical industry data can be made available in a manner which is as open as possible. This project will receive £425,000 of funding, match-funded by industry to £850,000.

“This funding will help the NZTC, working with industry and academia, to help grow Scotland’s role as a global leader in net zero technology solutions, delivering security of energy supply, diversifying the sector, and creating the next generation of highly skilled, green jobs.”

NZTC chief executive Colette Cohen added the funding would help unlock some of the technology and innovation needed to deliver “an affordable net zero energy industry”.

“This is an important milestone for the Net Zero Technology Centre which will drive the development of key technologies for green growth in Scotland and the UK, create jobs, attract investment and help establish a world-class net zero supply chain,” she added.

Matheson claimed the government’s Energy Transition Fund was helping accelerate the journey to net-zero, while underpinning the region’s ambitions to become a world leader in this transition.

The £62 million fund was launched last year and has so far provided £26 million in funding for an energy transition zone in Aberdeen, £6.5 million for a global underwater hub and £4.65 million towards the Aberdeen Hydrogen Hub, where the Aberdeen city council recently announced it was hunting a strategic partner to help develop Scotland’s first commercially scalable and investable hydrogen production site.

UK climate change research programme

The funding from the Scottish government came the same day as the UK government unveiled a new £5 million research programme aimed at helping the UK adapt and become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

The government said the four-year ‘Climate Services for a Net Zero Resilient World’ research programme would help inform future climate policy and ensure the UK is able to respond to the impacts a warming planet will have on national infrastructure, as well as provide models for how the UK can reduce carbon emissions globally.

“Climate change poses a threat to both our way of life and the safety of our nation. The climate decisions taken by the government now, and over these crucial next few years, are vital to protect our homes, our wellbeing, and our future,” UK Climate & Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said in Friday’s statement.

"This new programme brings together the brightest and best climate scientists, universities and research institutions from across the country to provide us with the latest tools, advice, and research to inform future climate policies at a national and local level. This research will be vital to ensure we’re making the best possible choices on our journey to net zero, making certain the UK is adaptable and more resilient to the effects of climate change.”

The announcements by the UK and Scottish governments come ahead of the COP26 meeting, which is set to be held in the Scottish city of Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November.

The event will bring world leaders together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.