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Scotland goes big on renewables and low carbon innovation with a new $107 million fund

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Jeff J Mitchell | Getty Images

It's famous for its oil fields, but this country just doubled down on renewables and low carbon innovation.

The Scottish government has published its first energy strategy, which includes plans for a £20 million ($26.75 million) energy investment fund and a £60 million low carbon innovation fund.

In an announcement Wednesday, Scottish authorities said the strategy had six "strategic priorities." These include championing Scotland's renewable energy potential; improving energy efficiency in Scottish homes; and continuing to support "investment and innovation" across the oil and gas sector.

Targets in the strategy include renewable sources supplying the equivalent of 50 percent of the energy for Scotland's heat, transport and electricity consumption by the year 2030.

"Scotland has world class skills, expertise and knowledge, from the North Sea oil and gas industry to our academic institutions and smaller start-ups, to our cutting edge low carbon technology," Paul Wheelhouse, Scotland's business, energy and innovation minister, said in a statement.

Wheelhouse added that Scotland was "leading the way in promoting community and locally owned renewable energy."

Gina Hanrahan, the acting head of policy at environmental group WWF Scotland, said it was "great" to see the Scottish government cementing its ambitions to deliver half its energy from renewables by 2030.

"In uncertain times for investment, it is a strong statement that Scotland is open for low-carbon business and plans to build on its fantastic progress on renewable electricity in the heat and transport sectors," Hanrahan said in a statement.

According to the Scottish government, Scotland is home to 25 percent of Europe's offshore wind resources. More broadly, there are more than 58,000 jobs in Scotland's low carbon and renewable energy economy.

On Thursday, the U.K. government released energy statistics for the third quarter of 2017. One of the key findings showed that low carbon electricity's share of generation hit 54.4 percent, a record high.