Scottish green energy transition could create 44,000 new jobs
Rebuilding Scotland's energy sector around green technology could generate 44,000 additional jobs compared to the current oil-and-gas status quo.
Thats according to a new report - Jobs in Scotland’s new economy - published today (25 August) by the Scottish Greens.
The report states that 200,000 new jobs could be created by adopting more renewable energy, compared to the 156,000 people currently employed in the country’s fossil fuel industry.
The Scottish Greens point out improvements in key areas that would slowly end the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and create a sector where “the pollution stays in the ground, and the money and skills stay in the community.”
The Green's suggested policies included prioritising North Sea decommissioning, nationalising the giant Grangemouth oil refinery and launching a large-scale reforesting programme.
The report also highlights offshore wind energy as a catalyst for the switch towards a green energy sector. Scottish wind power generated a record 4,452GWh of electricity in the first quarter of 2015.
The report breaks down the new job opportunities as follows:
Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: "In recent months there have been mass layoffs in the oil and gas industry. The ongoing insecurity due to the volatile price and finite nature of this resource has devastating consequences for families and communities. The only credible and responsible course of action is a managed transition towards sustainable sectors as outlined in this major report.
"We can enhance skills, encourage innovation and increase supply chain opportunities for Scotland’s small and medium-sized businesses. We have the chance to become a world centre of expertise in oil and gas decommissioning, with imminent global demand for such knowledge.”
In response to the report WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "As the report makes clear, Scotland will continue to be reliant on fossil fuels for many more years to come. However, the climate change science is also very clear that we urgently need to be weaning ourselves off of those fossil fuels. We need to see a just transition that harnesses the people and skills currently employed in fossils fuel industries and create new opportunities in less-polluting alternatives.
"If Scotland is to grasp the opportunities set out in this report, then we need Ministers become more forward thinking, perhaps by creating a low-carbon futures taskforce that could plan a sensible and coordinated transition that delivered sustainable jobs and communities in cleaner manufacturing and industries."
Sea of opportunity
The report comes in the wake of numerous green policies being established in the country.
In 2014 DECC published data showing that Scotland had met its 50% renewable electricity target a year ahead of schedule. Investment in the renewable industry almost topped £1bn. Applying these measures will likely see investment pass £2bn just on decommissioning the North Sea.