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ScotWind millions ‘must be used for jobs and training’

© Andrew Milligan/PA WireUnion ScotWind supply chain
The Bi-Fab fabrication yard in Methil before being mothballed in 2020.

The £700million to be raised for Scottish Government coffers through the ScotWind auction “must be used” for jobs and training, a trade union has urged.

Prospect, the union for specialists including engineers and scientists, said the offshore wind awards must bring benefits to Scotland after a previous false dawn.

In 2010, Deputy First Minister John Swinney predicted 30,000 Scottish jobs for offshore wind by 2020, but after a decade the actual figure was closer to 1,900.

Richard Hardy, national secretary for Prospect, said now is the time for the “Scottish Government to step up to the plate and deliver” to ensure a Just Transition for workers.

“It’s vital that the money generated by today’s ScotWind announcements is used to address the jobs and training needs of a Just Transition if the Scottish Government is genuine about creating a ‘renewables revolution’.

“We have seen decades of Governments failing to deliver on job promises in the renewable sector. It’s not good for Scotland or Scottish workers if the main beneficiaries of today’s announcement are factories and workers in the Middle East, China and Indonesia, something we have seen all too frequently in the past.”

Following the ScotWind awards, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said “we have every reason to be optimistic about the number of jobs that can be created”.

She added that it means “people working right now in the oil and gas sector in the North East of Scotland can be confident of opportunities for their future”.

Offshore wind jobs boom branded ‘pipe dream’ after Scot Gov supplies estimated figures

Job creation figures will be dependent on Scottish yards winning work.

A report from the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council (SOWEC), a group led by the government and private sector, recommended last year that a portion of the cash generated from ScotWind should be used to create port “clusters” in the country, using various ports to compete internationally for work in the burgeoning floating wind market.

GMB Scotland secretary Louise Gilmour said ScotWind is a “massive test” of the renewables industry’s social justice credentials.

Local content requirements, set out in the offshore wind sector deal agreed by the UK Government, are not legally binding.

However, relatively modest financial penalties can be placed on firms who fail to meet their Supply Chain Development Statement (SCDS), which sets out local content targets in the lease process.

Later, when firms apply for government subsidies under the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, they will also be subject to local content requirements.

Penalties here, though, would pale in comparison to the reputational damage done to a firm who made multibillion-pound supply chain pledges in the run-up to ScotWind.

Gary Bills, UK managing director at K2 Management, told Energy Voice: “Some developers have made very specific commitments to invest X amount of pounds in X facility.

“That’s pretty hard to get out of – even if there’s a very small penalty and the reward is better [not to use local resources], it’s a very clear commitment that you’ve made, and I think that would be honoured.”

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