A new company tasked with realising Sir Ian Wood’s vision of an Energy Transition Zone in the south of Aberdeen has found its CEO.
Maggie McGinlay, a veteran of Scottish Enterprise and Opportunity North East (ONE), will lead the non-profit firm spearheading the development, aimed at establishing Aberdeen as “an all-energy capital of Europe”.
Formerly director of energy at Scottish Enterprise, Ms McGinlay spent 20 years at the Scottish Government economic development body, leading initiatives including the Energy Jobs Taskforce.
Since 2017, she has been deputy CEO of ONE, an organisation set up by former oil boss Sir Ian Wood, which created the concept and led the business case for the Energy Transition Zone (ETZ).
The ETZ has, to date, secured £53m of Scottish and UK Government funding, with ambitions to deliver jobs, high value manufacturing and technology development in areas including offshore wind, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage.
Other ONE leaders including CEO Jennifer Craw, chairman Sir Ian Wood and ONE Energy chairman Trevor Garlick are on the board of the new company, Energy Transition Zone Limited.
Ms McGinlay said: “The Energy Transition Zone is an ambitious and exciting project that will reposition the North East of Scotland as a globally recognised integrated energy cluster.
“Our clear focus is on the delivery of net zero and developing a sustainable long-term international industry base that delivers sustainable jobs and growth for the region.
“The significant backing from both the Scottish and UK Governments and Opportunity North East will help ensure the regional energy transition ambition becomes a reality and is deserved recognition of our proven ability and unique position within Scotland and the UK to take advantage of this massive opportunity.”
The ETZ will be connected to the coastline, close to the new £350million South Harbour expansion, though development in the area has been met with local opposition due to its overlap with green areas at Torry and Cove Bay including St Fittick’s Park and Doonie’s Rare Breeds Farm.
However supporters have been quick to note its significance to ensuring the city diversifies with the energy transition, and in creation of local jobs with a new skills academy to be created.
Ms McGinlay added: “There is a lot of work to be done in order to realise this ambition and a programme of extensive engagement with the local communities and businesses will ensure the region’s energy transition ambitions are developed in line with the needs of the community, industry and investors.
“It will be a key priority of ETZ Ltd to ensure the benefits of the project are widespread and felt keenly amongst those citizens who live and work in close proximity to the proposed Energy Transition Zone and the Skills Academy Hub, alongside the ongoing plan supporting training development and job opportunities for the future, is just one example of that.”