An �8 million fund to support marine energy projects in Scottish waters and keep Scotland at the forefront of the world renewable energy drive is open for applications.

Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen made the announcement at a major renewable energy convention in Beijing, where a number of Scottish energy companies are exhibiting their technology in China for the first time ever. China is the world's second largest consumer of energy and its government has set a target to supply 10 per cent of energy (60 GW) from renewables by 2010 and 120 GW by 2020.

Mr Stephen told the international audience: "Scottish companies have the skills and the industrial expertise to help meet China's renewables ambitions.