The Offshore Wind summit which took place on Thursday 16th of January in Edinburgh might provide some assurance to the industry in Scotland.
Representatives from the Scottish Government, the UK Government, trades unions, and industry agreed on measures to support the offshore wind supply chain.
When applying for offshore wind leases in Scottish waters developers will have to commit to supporting the supply chain in Scotland.
Derek Mackay, Economy Secretary in the Scottish Government said:
“Scotland is the ideal location for offshore wind, but recent projects have not delivered the significant economic opportunities we want to see for Scottish businesses.
“The Scottish Government has been calling for the offshore sector to do more by awarding contracts to our indigenous supply chain but recent disappointments suggest that more has to be done.
“I will use every lever at our disposal to ensure that our renewables supply chain benefits from the expansion of offshore wind in our waters, leading to the creation and retention of Scottish jobs.
“The measures agreed with Crown Estate Scotland will help to release more of those economic benefits for the Scottish economy and ensure that the Scottish-based supply chain is considered when tendering for work or making long-term conditions.”
The news has been welcomed by trade unions representing the workers in the offshore wind sector.
In a joint statement Pat Rafferty and Gary Smith, Scottish Secretaries of Unite and GMB said:
“We welcome these long overdue measures announced today by the Scottish Government in taking a harder line with the industry – but this must be the start of change and not the end.”
“The truth is it’s been a decade of failure for job creation in Scotland’s offshore wind sector.”
“In 2011 employment in Scotland’s offshore wind sector was forecasted to be 28,000 direct jobs and 20,000 indirect jobs by 2020. We are nowhere near that and in the last few months redundancy notices have been handed out at supply chain firms like BiFab and CS Wind.”
“In the same period, industry majors like SSE have been subsidised to the tune of billions of pounds of public money through the UK Government’s Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, with no link at all to domestic job creation commitments.”
“It’s a scandalous story of missed opportunities and ultimately one of industrial and political failure.”
“Without a detailed industrial plan involving the industry and a substantial programme of investment for our supply chain, our green jobs revolution will continue to be delivered in Spain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Indonesia and China – anywhere but Scotland.”
In 2011 the Scottish Government published The 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy in Scotland.
At the time the Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism in the Scottish Government was Fergus Ewing MSP. He said in 2011 that the routemap’s target had the potential to “create tens of thousands of new jobs and secure billions of pounds of investment in our economy.“
Over the next decade to 2020, renewables in Scotland could provide: up to 40,000 jobs and £30b investment to the Scottish economy; significant displacement and reduction in carbon emissions; a strengthening of future energy security through the harnessing of sustainable indigenous resources; and a transformational opportunity for local ownership and benefits. 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy in Scotland
Commenting on the agreement at the Offshore Wind Energy Summit, Colin Palmer, Director of Marine for Crown Estate Scotland, said:
“Scotland has unique potential when it comes to offshore wind and we’re committed to doing all we can to unlock that opportunity. ScotWind Leasing will present Scotland as an attractive destination for the significant investment needed to deliver the scale of offshore wind projects we want to see.”
Reporter: Fiona Grahame