Green free ports: Minister presents plans during Spain trip

Trade Secretary Richard Lochhead will meet business leaders as part of a two-day visit.

He will hold talks with energy and renewable energy companies, a digital health company, a leading hotel chain set to open its first Scottish hotel in 2025 and one of Spain’s leading spirits exporters whose bosses are looking to invest in a Scottish distillery.

Mr Lochhead’s trip concludes with a meeting at Iberdrola, the Spanish company that owns Scottish Power, where talks will focus on how the company’s green hydrogen projects align with Scotland’s net zero targets.

The minister said he would “highlight the Scottish Government’s commitment to working with investors to develop projects that will enable large-scale hydrogen production with export routes to Europe”.

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The Scottish Government’s Hydrogen Action Plan, released last December, provided £100m of equity funding for renewable hydrogen projects.

Ahead of his visit to Madrid, which begins on Tuesday, Mr Lochhead stressed that “Scotland continues to perform well in attracting foreign direct investment, despite ongoing global economic headwinds and the impact of Brexit and Covid”.

He said: “My focus will be on building relationships with new and existing investors, supporting export opportunities and raising Scotland’s international profile.”

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“It will also be an opportunity to highlight the benefits of our new Green Freeports to Spanish companies looking to establish a presence in Scotland.”

The plans, announced jointly by the Scottish and UK governments, will see the establishment of two of the new economic zones on the Cromarty Firth and the Firth of Forth to boost innovation and growth.

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