The Scottish Government has the opportunity to “transform" the energy sector, according to a group of industry experts.
The former chief executive of Wood Group and a number of other prominent industry members have stepped down from their posts with the Energy Jobs taskforce after a committee shake-up.
Sir Ian Wood is to lead a major new taskforce being set up to safeguard the future of the north-east economy and land a multibillion-pound City Deal for the region. The offshore industry doyen has accepted an invitation to head up the area’s new “Economic Leadership Board”. It will drive forward the north-east’s bid to secure a £2.9billion City Deal package from the UK and Scottish governments – and lead efforts to anchor oil and gas sector skills in the region for decades to come. The new board will succeed Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future (Acsef), and will also feature other leading figures from the oil and gas, food and drink, life sciences and tourism industries, as well as representatives from the local authorities and the universities.
The Government should invest revenues from UK shale gas production in research and development of renewables and low carbon technology, it has been urged. Shale gas, which is extracted through controversial fracking, could play a role as a “bridge” to a low carbon future, Lord Chris Smith said as the task force on shale gas he chairs published a report on the climate impacts of the fuel. But to minimise its impact and to ensure it does not hinder the development of renewables, the Government needs to invest the revenues it received from energy taxes and royalties into research and development of low carbon technology. The money could give more of a push to areas such as battery storage, which allows power from intermittent renewables to be stored until it is needed, and to technologies including wave and tidal power which need to be developed, he said.
A jobs taskforce set up to help North Sea workers whose jobs are under threat is to be continued “for the foreseeable future”, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced. The Scottish Government set up the Energy Jobs Taskforce in January after the sector was hit by the slump in oil prices. Initial plans were for the body, which brings together the industry, the public sector and trade unions, to be in place for six months. But Ms Sturgeon has announced it will continue to meet beyond its original six-month commitment. The First Minister said: “The Scottish Government is fully committed to the oil and gas industry; it has been a true success story and we are working to ensure it will continue to be so.
The new energy jobs taskforce, launched by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier this month in response to tumbling oil prices, will meet for the first time in Aberdeen today. Chaired by Scottish Enterprise (SE) chief executive Lena Wilson, it will focus on jobs across the entire energy industry but with an initial emphasis on the oil and gas sector. Membership includes industry bodies and commercial interests as well as cross-government representation.