In 2020, we collectively experienced rapid and significant changes to both our personal and work lives. The energy industry has been affected as much as any and the drop in oil price is always felt across north-east Scotland.
However, a time of crisis opens the door for positive transformation. We have seen this across the sector during the past 12 months, with new commitments to renewable energy production and increased momentum towards decarbonisation and net zero.
In 2021, the COP26 conference comes to Glasgow, where many global targets and green energy policies will be debated and negotiated. It will be an exciting time, with an international spotlight on the collective excellence and capabilities of the Scottish and UK supply chain.
To build resilience and drive the economic recovery, it is vital that the energy transition remains a top priority, where there are sizeable opportunities for growth and job creation as part of the “green industrial revolution”. In his recent 10-point plan, the Prime Minister set out that the UK Government would support 250,000 jobs in green energy by 2030 with £12 billion of government investment, as well as stimulating billions of pounds more in private investment.
With these ambitions, we need a supported supply chain where companies are empowered and enabled to make their own renewable energy commitments and build their business models around how they can service an adapting energy environment. We are collaborating with our peers from other membership organisations to highlight the views of AREG members and reach out to the supply chain to enable these efforts towards net zero. A key part of this will be aligning on the collective issues that the whole supply chain is facing, and there needs to be a collaborative approach here.
In the north-east, we have a significant base of expertise to be able to respond and seize opportunities within several of the UK’s key strength areas as described in the government plan, namely offshore wind, hydrogen, public transport, homes and carbon capture. It gives me great pride to say that we are already leading in many of these areas, but it will take a combination of all these technologies to meet our emissions reductions targets.
This type of transformation requires a long-lead time, so action must be taken quickly to integrate the supply chain skills to match these ambitions for the future. In 2021 and during the countdown to COP26, we will continue to foster and enable dialogue with the supply chain around the energy transition, with a view to showcasing our world leading technologies and expertise, as well as bringing new green business opportunities to the area.