In the renewables zone, the Scottish government has been perfecting a shape of political alchemy during the last decade. In this, Nicola Sturgeon and her ministers have succeeded in spinning mere optimism into hard political currency.
The identity of its manifesto for the 2011 Holyrood election asked citizens to “Re-select a Scottish Government Working For Scotland” and claimed that growing the low-carbon financial system could create “around a hundred thirty,000 jobs”. At the modern boom fee of real jobs on this region, you wouldn’t bet on that parent of 130,000 being reached before that big asteroid with Earth’s name on it reveals its bearings.
The fabled potential of this sector for the economy has long mesmerized political training. Offshore Wind Scotland’s offering to potential traders reads like a license to print money: “With over 25% of Europe’s offshore wind aid passing over Scottish seas, it’s no marvel some of the biggest names in offshore wind are already working here,” it trills. “If your organization is inquisitive about the United Kingdom’s multibillion-pound offshore wind and renewables opportunity, then Scotland’s company groups are able to help.”
The 20 or so people at the mothballed BiFab construction yards in Methil and Burntisland on the Fife coast have another perspective. The destiny of these yards is important to the broader, working-elegance communities that surround them. That future is now a problem to the whims of the French energy giant EDF, which has a £1bn agreement to deliver jacket foundations, which assist and anchor wind turbines to the seabed.
The Scottish government, to provide it its due, bought a great stake in BiFab to help JV Driver, its new Canadian owner, navigate its way through the treacherous currents that dictate international contracts and processes in this area. The EDF contract could create greater than 1,000 long-time periods, professional and nicely-paid jobs. It has the ability to restore and sustain groups that also haven’t recovered from Thatcherism. These hopes now dangle via narrow threads way to a mixture of what may generously be described as economic opportunism by EDF and rank incompetence with the aid of the Scottish authorities.
The French firm plans to award this lifesaving settlement to an Indonesian company, effectively saying that it can’t have the funds for professional Scottish personnel. Hard questions are being asked approximately the well worth of activity ensures related to the work and the high-quality of the contractual duties laid down by using the Scottish government. Independent recommendation given to the GMB union approximately the scope for taking criminal action within the event that these jobs flit to the other facet of the world indicates that those ought to be scrutinized similarly, however you wouldn’t bet on it.
There has been almost £5bn of investment in offshore renewables in Scotland that, if nicely managed and negotiated, could amount to several thousand sustainable and skilled jobs. According to the GMB, handiest one hundred temporary jobs presently derive from this. In this international area, we are frequently taking a penknife to a gunfight, with foreign-owned outfits heavily backed with the aid of governments that underwrite losses. Thus, our contracts need to be watertight and stringent.
The Scottish authorities spent a first-rate deal of cash securing all of the necessary sees eyes to an eye for the wind farm and said that jobs might be created inside the Fife yards. That changed into before EDF bought the undertaking from the preceding proprietors for £500m, before crudely jettisoning all prior commitments to nearby jobs. How the Scottish government didn’t get these jobs nailed down legally, even within the event of the agreement being bought out, may also yet be scrutinized in a courtroom. Scotland faces the weird and humiliating prospect of a French firm driving at the crest of our spanking new green power revolution via moving it to the opposite aspect of the world, earlier than towing it back on diesel-burning ships to paste it 10 miles off the coast of Fife as a permanent insult to the groups that have to examine them each day.