North East needs to plan for thousands of jobs beyond oil and gas

I’m delighted that new research commissioned by the Scottish Greens MSPs from Platform shows how a planned transition to green energy could create over 200,000 jobs. This could secure the north-east’s energy economy for generations to come.

We all know that we need to begin planning for the end of oil and gas. That will mean investing much more in renewables. It also means harnessing the opportunities to

The study calls on the Scottish Government to ensure the north-east becomes a world leader in oil and gas decommissioning, and to capitalise on the region’s engineering skills to put Scotland at the forefront of the international offshore wind and marine energy industry.

The north-east has been built on the ingenuity and determination of generations of energy workers, but unless we fulfil our huge green energy potential, this could be the last one.

Oil and gas workers deserve a plan for what comes next, and they can rely on the Greens to make sure they get one.

The world needs a just transition away from oil and gas that protects jobs and creates new ones, and nowhere is better placed to help kick start this global process than the north east of Scotland.

With 470 platforms and 10,000km of pipeline coming to the end of their lives in the next 30 years Scottish Government must plan for the thousands of jobs needed in decommissioning North Sea infrastructure. Just as Aberdeen has become a world leader in the supply chain for oil and gas, so it must become a world leader in decommissioning, supplying services around the world to other decommissioning oil and gas fields.

We can’t let our renewable future be dependent on imports, because we failed to create the jobs here in Scotland. We have the world’s greatest offshore engineering tradition, and one-quarter of the European Union’s entire offshore wind and marine energy potential.

Dundee has a huge opportunity to expand its role as a major port servicing offshore renewables, and to add manufacturing and research and development jobs to its growing clean energy industry.

Our green energy future can guarantee the high-quality jobs that will underpin a fair economy and a fair society, but none of this will happen by accident. We need decisive government action, while we can still reap the benefits of being first into the race, to make sure that these enormous opportunities don’t pass us by.

The report makes a wide range of other policy recommendations, including:

— Creating a publicly-owned renewables company to encourage offshore wind, tidal and wave developments
— Prioritising North Sea decommissioning work
— Taking the Grangemouth refinery and petrochemicals plant into public ownership
— Converting Grangemouth to make and use synthetic gas to enable a long-term future
— Launching a national insulation retrofit programme
— Launching a large-scale reforesting programme
— Making available support packages for fossil fuel workers to aid their transition to new sectors

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