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‘Sold on the cheap?’ Nicola Sturgeon defends £700m ScotWind plans

© Supplied by SSE Renewablesfuture CFD competition
Offshore wind set to lift off in Japan.

Nicola Sturgeon accused opponents of “girning” about major offshore wind investment in a row over human rights, profits and selling off access “on the cheap”.

The First Minister was visibly rattled by Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar’s criticism at Holyrood days after the £700 million ScotWind deal was unveiled.

At First Minister’s Questions, Mr Sarwar raised the “questionable human rights records” of some of the successful firms.

He also warned foreign countries, including Sweden, would have a bigger stake in the offshore energy produced in Scotland than the Scottish Government.

Mr Sarwar said: “This SNP Government have sold on the cheap the right to profit from Scotland’s energy transition to multinational companies with questionable human rights records.

“One of the new owners of Scotland’s seabed were fined $54 million for bribing Nigerian officials and $88m for bribing Indonesian officials.

“Another one was found to have contributed to human rights abuses at one of its construction sites, of destroying villages in Myanmar, of relying on forced labour and using slavery to build pipelines.

“Surely these aren’t people the Scottish Government should be doing business with?”

© Supplied by Fraser Bremner
First Minister’s Questions FMQs.<br />Anas Sarwar MSP Scottish Labour Leader during First Minister’s Questions at the Scottish Parliament Holyrood Edinburgh.<br />Scotland Scottish politics.<br />Thursday 25 November 2021.<br />Pool/Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail<br />Picture FRASER BREMNER<br />(date taken)25.11.2021(digital image)<br />tel 07976 414 878 email fbremnerinfo@yahoo.co.uk.

Cases referenced by Mr Sarwar include the Marubeni Corporation that, in partnership with SSE, has been awarded rights for a floating offshore wind turbine site across 858sq km (331sq miles) of seabed.

The Japanese organisation paid a multimillion-dollar penalty in connection with a decade-long scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials for engineering, procurement and construction contracts.

France’s TotalEnergies, which in a consortium secured rights to develop a wind farm off the west coast of Orkney, was implicated in historic claims the military in Burma had used forced labour and its soldiers had employed murder and rape in the laying of a pipeline through the country.

Ms Sturgeon said there were “appropriate processes in place to do due diligence” on the consortiums allowed to develop the projects, and the deal “offers massive potential to Scotland”.

She added: “Not only does this give us the potential to meet our own energy needs from renewable sources, it positions us with the ability to be a major exporter of renewable energy, including green hydrogen, and it gives enormous potential for our supply chain.”

Sources close to Mr Sarwar claimed the SNP leader later called him a disgrace when the cameras were turned off.

In the chamber, Mr Sarwar replied: “This is about the Scottish supply chain, Scottish companies and Scottish jobs.

“Because the sad reality is that this is an SNP Government that doesn’t understand economic development: Scottish bridges built with Chinese steel, Scottish wind farms with turbines built in Indonesia, ferries not built at Scottish shipyards but built in Poland and Turkey, and now Scotland’s seabed owned by foreign multinationals with woeful human rights records.”

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