A new £103 million fund to help boost the number of renewable energy projects north of the border has been launched by the Scottish government.

According to the First Minister Alex Salmond, who launched the fund, the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF), as it is known, aims to attract more private investment to the sector.

The priorities of the scheme will be to boost alternative means of energy generation, ranging from wave and tidal energy to solar panels and renewable district heating.

In addition, the government has announced plans to create an advisory group that will support those seeking finance from the new UK Green Investment Bank.

"This fund will help leverage further significant private finance into key areas of the renewables sector where specific funding gaps have been identified," Ms Salmond added.

He noted that the planned advisory group will provide "expert advice" for people who have good ideas and projects to put to the Green Investment Bank, but who need a helping hand to make them ready for investment.

"The group will help those people to refine and pitch their proposals – by doing so, it should enable the Green Investment Bank to make decisions quickly, and to start investing in projects which will deliver real benefits."

Meanwhile, Niall Stuart, chief executive of trade body Scottish Renewables, said the fund will inject "much-needed investment" into the development of the next generation of renewable technologies, such as renewable heat.

"This kind of support can be a vital catalyst in attracting even greater levels of private investment," he added.

The government, meanwhile, claimed the project has "huge potential" to create jobs and drive growth, and said it is pleased that the funding is being as announced.

A spokesman added: "The remaining £100m from the fund has been made available to support the capitalisation of the £3 billion UK Green Investment Bank, based in Edinburgh."