Scottish Renewables calls for funding to retrain oil and gas workers
Every gigawatt of renewable power installed in Scotland creates 1,500 jobs and adds £133m of GVA to the economy, according to new research by Scottish Renewables.
Releasing a new plan aimed at stimulating an environmentally friendly economic recovery from COVID-19, the industry body urged ministers to establish a Renewable Transition Training Fund to help oil and gas workers, supply chain businesses, tradesmen and public servants learn new skills and join the renewable energy industry.
It comes after a report from the Scottish Government’s independent advisory group on economic recovery made 25 recommendations to “build a robust, resilient wellbeing economy” that mitigates the damage caused by the coronavirus and invests in a “green economic recovery”.
Scottish Renewables also called for existing trade, export and investment powers to be used to boost skills exports to countries trying to grow domestic renewables sectors.
Meanwhile the body also urged the Scottish Government to speed up efforts to decarbonise the heat sector.
Chief Executive Claire Mack said: “Put simply, the renewable energy industry is Scotland’s passport to green economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
“No other industry but renewables provides the opportunity for investment, improvement of health and tackling the climate emergency in one, often shovel-ready package.”
Mack added: “Scotland acted early and set some of the world’s most challenging renewable energy targets, and so has decarbonised its economy quickly. We now have skills and products which the world is crying out for as it seeks to find a sustainable, low-carbon route out of the current economic downturn.
“Domestically the need to decarbonise our heat sector – probably the biggest battle faced in Scotland’s fight against climate change – provides enormous opportunity, with a Scottish Renewables study in November 2019 identifying 46 potential heat networks which can help cut Scotland’s carbon emissions by 10 per cent while creating construction and civil engineering jobs.
“On top of all that, our expertise in offshore energy, particularly in the north east, coupled with the downturn in the oil and gas industry means many skilled workers are searching for new, sustainable careers. Our industry can provide those.
“A number of other actions, such as ensuring our planning process is aligned with the need to meet the 2045 net-zero target and taking advantage of hundreds of shovel-ready wind, hydro, solar and heat projects, would free up billions of pounds of investment and provide new jobs across Scotland.”