The union fears that firms and workers in the Scottish renewables sector are missing out. More action is needed to end renewables market “chaos” which is increasingly placing Scotland’s green energy revolution in foreign hands, according to Unite trade union. Unite, one of the country’s biggest unions, says steps must be taken to regain control of the sector. The call comes after the Scottish Government’s economic and community development agency, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), moved three years ago to offload the taxpayer’s 19 per cent stake in Argyll firm Wind Towers (Scotland) – which owns the UK’s only facility for manufacturing wind towers – to South Korean-based CS Wind, which took over operations. CS Wind papers seen by The Herald also show that a £461,920 taxpayerfunded loan from HIE was also waived. The base at Machrihanish now faces the loss of 73 of its 94 staff three years after the sale despite pre-tax profits of £7.1 million last year. The Scottish Government is currently aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75% over the next 10 years as Scotland bids to become “net-zero” by 2045. Unite’s Scottish secretary, Pat Rafferty, says urgent action is needed because a “smorgasbord” of multinational interests is now “calling the shots” in the sector in Scotland. The union’s regional industrial officer, Charlie McDonald, said: “The workforce in Scotland is ideally placed to carry out the work that needs done… yet Scottish workers continually lose out to foreign firms time and again.” “We welcome any opportunity to work with the Government and employers to avoid job losses in the renewables sector, but the talking must result in actions that save jobs.”
Herald 19th Nov 2019 read more »
Scotland is on course to meet the equivalent of 100 per cent of our electricity needs from clean energy sources. Renewable sources provided 74.6% of gross electricity consumption in 2018. These welcome figures would have you believe that there is a successful and unproblematic transition to the green energy revolution but don’t be deceived because our renewables energy sector is in chaos. Unite fully supports a “just transition” from fossil fuels to clean energy but this has to be on the basis that there are green energy jobs to transition to or we are in danger of repeating the misery of de-industrialisation endured in the 1980s. Claims that developing a low-carbon economy would create upwards of 130,000 jobs have turned out to be fanciful. Instead, taxpayers are subsidising foreign firms to produce green energy which is supplied to Scottish homes at inflated prices and the work is being done thousands of miles away and shipped back to Scotland on carbon-emitting container ships. The next large-scale project to be announced at any moment by EDF, the French state-owned energy company, is the £2 billion Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) offshore windfarm off the coast of Fife. The windfarm is projected to generate enough electricity to power a city the size of Edinburgh. It should be a fantastic opportunity to get the BiFab yards at Methil and Burntisland in Fife, and also in Arnish, back to work. However, it has been widely reported that EDF is on the brink of awarding the contract for constructing the jackets to the Italian industrial giant Saipem.
Herald 19th Nov 2019 read more »