Company says the majority of these jobs will be in Scotland
After the downbeat announcement from SSE regarding perceived increased investment risk associated with the independence debate and the depressing anti-wind Tory backlash, the announcement today by Scottish Power of the imminent creation of 300 new jobs has come as a breath of fresh air to the Scottish renewables industry.
ScottishPower expects to invest over £5bn to upgrade the electricity network in central and southern Scotland over the next 10 years, and is launching a recruitment drive to boost its engineering and technical workforce by creating 300 new roles. It is anticipated there will be around 50 new apprenticeships created and the graduate programme will look to take in at least 50 new graduates by 2013. ScottishPower Chairman Ignacio Galán made the announcement today at the company’s training headquarters in Cumbernauld with First Minister Alex Salmond.
ScottishPower needs the new generation of engineers to deliver the most important upgrades to the electricity network in over half a century, but at the same time the energy industry is facing an impending skills gap. To address this skills gap , ScottishPower is also investing £6.5 million in grassroots skills development between 2011 and 2013. This investment will range from developing pre-apprentice schools programmes, to establishing technical partnerships with colleges and universities, all the way through to the sponsorship of specialist post graduate scholarships.
Ignacio Galán, Chairman of ScottishPower, said: “The move to the low carbon economy, from modern and efficient electricity networks to new renewable energy generation will be a catalyst for economic growth and job creation. Overall, we are projecting investments totaling £12 billion in the UK over the course of this decade and it is vital we do all that we can to encourage people to develop the skills required to take advantage of these investments.
“We are announcing 300 skilled jobs today, in an industry where workers will have lifelong development opportunities. Our aim is to ensure that school children and those at college and university see this kind of skilled employment as an attractive option. Engineers are retiring every day and we want to see the next generation of workers knocking on our door to fill their places.
“We were encouraged that the Scottish Government recently announced their desire to deliver 25,000 modern apprenticeships each year as part of their Youth Employment Strategy. This will certainly be part of the solution to help an industry like ours bridge its skills gap.”
First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Three hundred new high-skilled jobs for Scotland’s energy sector is very encouraging news indeed. Scottish Power’s £6.5 million commitment is further proof of the continued long term investment by global companies in Scotland’s fast growing renewables industry.
“Scotland’s energy sector has the potential to reindustrialise this country and provide work for tens of thousands of Scots in the years to come. This kind of investment in training is critical to create the new generation of skilled workers to power our low carbon future – and it’s something that is also a top priority for the Scottish Government.
Frank Mitchell, CEO of ScottishPower Energy Networks, said: “The search starts today. We need 300 power engineers of all levels and experience to begin working on some of our major projects that will completely modernise the electricity grid in Scotland. In order to fill these positions we will also be seeking to hire workers from other industries, including the offshore sector and the armed forces and offering to retrain them.
“In the longer term, we will need many more workers to join our industry straight from school or university. As well as investing more than £6m on grassroots skills development, we will be working closely with the Government and with educational establishments in the coming years to encourage the development of more engineers.”
By a Newsnet reporter
In a survey carried out by the Guardian newspaper, leading renewable energy companies have revealed that fears over the commitment of the UK government to renewable energy development have led them to put billions of pounds worth of investment on hold.
Representatives of the companies say that they are either reviewing their UK investment plans, or seeking clarification from UK energy ministers on future energy policy.
However the sole bright spot in the Guardian’s survey came from Scotland, where renewable energy companies feel more confident about the support and commitment of the Scottish government. Scottish Power plans to invest almost £1 billion in renewable energy development projects. Almost all of this money will be invested in Scotland.
The fears causing renewable energy companies to rethink their plans of investing in the UK derive from the large and vocal group of Conservative MPs who are pressing the Coalition government to withdraw subsidies on wind-power generation and to tighten up the planning process to make development of wind farms more difficult. At the end of January, a group of 100 Conservative MPs signed a letter in the Telegraph newspaper calling on the UK government to slash the subsidy for on-shore wind farms.
While in opposition, David Cameron affected a pro-green stance in order to woo environmentally concerned voters. In an infamous publicity opportunity in 2006, the future PM’s office let press photographers know he’d be cycling to work in order to save energy. However behind him followed his ministerial car containing his briefcase.
Alongside the increasingly vocal demands from the Conservative back benches, the UK government has also recently been back-pedalling on the promise made by the Conservative leader prior to the 2010 general election to be the “greenest government ever” by downplaying the importance of targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and to increase the proportion of energy generated by renewables.
Some analysts and Westminster watchers, such as Guardian political correspondent Juliet Jowit, argue that the Coalition government is preparing the ground for an energy policy shift away from renewables in favour of increased investment in nuclear and gas. Nuclear power receives a higher subsidy than that received by wind generation.
The uncertainties created by Westminster policy shifts are damaging investment in the industry. Both Longannet and Peterhead Carbon Storage projects were shelved after successive Labour and Tory Governments effectively blocked the plans.
Speaking to the Guardian, the managing director of General Electric, Magued Eldaief, said that a planned £100m investment was “on hold” until UK ministers clarify future referms to the renewable energy market. He decribed the anti-wind energy statement of the Conservative MPs as a “concern”, saying: “It’s something we’re watching very closely. We would like clarity and we would like it as quickly as possible.”
Me Eldaief said: “Our investment is on hold until we have certainty and clarity regarding the policy environment that we are in. One of the most important things for us is political certainty, so we can justify the business and investment case for a facility in the UK. But we think there are some headwinds which do not help, especially in terms of the subsidies discussion.”
Even with the Scottish government’s pro-renewable stance, which recently angered Donald Trump, the full development of Scotland’s renewable energy potential depends upon financial and economic powers which are reserved to the Westminster government. The damage to investment in this sector, which is vital to the success of the Scottish economy, will lend weight to the argument that the Union does not operate in Scottish interests.
Reproduced with permission from an original article by newsnetscotland
Interim target of 31 per cent of demand from renewables met.
New figures published this week for the first three quarters of 2011 show Scotland’s renewable energy output was on track for the best year ever. The figures, which were released on Thursday by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, point to 2011 being a record year for renewable generation in Scotland, with the first three quarters of 2011 already delivering 94 per cent of the previous year’s totals, and 83 per cent of the previous record year. If the trend continues over the fourth quarter, 2011 will be a record year for renewable electricity in Scotland.
The statistics also demonstrate that there is enough generation capacity in Scotland to meet the country’s interim target of 31 per cent of electricity demand met from renewables in 2011. This is important progress towards the Government’s 2020 target of the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs met from renewable energy, as well as more from other sources.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:
“2011 has been an exceptional year for renewable energy in Scotland. These figures show that it is on course to be truly the best year yet. We have seen momentous progress towards our goal of generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs from renewables and more from other sources by 2020, with enough renewable energy capacity installed to more than meet our interim target of 31 per cent. In the first three quarters of the year alone, renewables have already delivered 94 per cent of the previous year’s totals, and 83 per cent of the previous record year. This year projects were switched on representing 750 million pounds of investment in renewables, and a staggering 46 billion pounds of investment is in the pipeline.”
“But most importantly we have taken real steps to ensure that communities all over Scotland will benefit from the renewable energy generated in their area, with a community benefit register which will help empower communities, as well as loans projects to help them develop renewable energy projects of their own.”
The 2011 figures were published alongside figures for the whole of 2010, which show renewable installed capacity in Scotland reached a record high of 4.3 gigawatts (GW) over the year, and that Scotland continued to be a net exporter of electricity in 2010, exporting 21 per cent of electricity generated.
As a result of the driest year since 2003, hydro electric generation fell in Scotland by a third in 2010, which led to a fall in overall renewable output from a peak in 2009. Renewable sources delivered 24.1 per cent of total electricity demand in Scotland in 2010, down from 27.4 in 2009. However, this drop has been more than made up for in 2011.
The figures also show that final energy consumption fell by 7.4 per cent compared to 2008 and 9.6 per cent against the 2005-7 baseline in 2009. Although this is in part due to the temporary impact of the global recession on energy demand, the reduction indicates that Scotland is on track to meet the 2020 final energy reduction target of 12 per cent.
New partnership seals vibrant renewables future for Port of Dundee
Energy giant SSE, Port of Dundee owner Forth Ports, enterprise agency Scottish Enterprise and local authority Dundee City Council have joined forces under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to secure Dundee’s position as a vibrant hub for Scotland’s rapidly-developing offshore renewables sector.
Representatives of the four organisations discussed their plans with First Minister Alex Salmond today, 15 December 2011, at St Andrew’s House, Edinburgh, where they signed the MoU.
SSE is one of the UK’s leading developers of offshore renewable energy, with major offshore wind projects situated off the east coast. SSE has therefore identified Dundee as a key strategic location for the development of its offshore wind supply chain. The company has taken a proactive approach to developing its offshore wind supply chain, forming strategic alliances and investing directly in companies of strategic importance.
Recognised as a key asset in Scotland’s National Renewable Infrastructure Plan, the Port of Dundee and the wider City of Dundee have a fundamental role to play in the future development of a comprehensive supply chain to support Scotland’s emerging offshore wind industry. Initial work, which will be funded by the National Renewable Infrastructure Fund, will capitalise on the Port’s strategic location and competitive advantage by maximising the use of existing space and providing a solid foundation for future investment and expansion.
Scottish Enterprise estimates that as the offshore wind sector develops in the coming years, the Port of Dundee has the potential to support in the region of 700 jobs in offshore wind manufacturing, with further major opportunities for off-port supply chain development in the Dundee area.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Scotland’s unrivalled offshore wind resource can help power our own economy and provide clean energy beyond our shores. But we also have a fantastic opportunity to become an industrial base for the wider European offshore renewables industry. Our low carbon energy industry is already bringing together a range of enterprises – from major Scottish-based utilities such as SSE, home-grown clean-tech developers and traditional offshore companies expanding their renewables business, to global engineering giants and other European power providers investing in clean energy in Scottish waters.
“I’m determined that communities across Scotland will contribute to and benefit from the renewables revolution that’s sweeping Europe and beyond. As one of our great port cities, Dundee is ideally-placed to become a key hub for the rapidly growing multi-billion pound offshore renewables industry, particularly and initially in offshore wind. The partners have all recognised and seized the opportunity by agreeing this MoU today. The work that follows the signing of the MoU will not only ensure that the port is used most effectively, but will ensure that the public and private sector work together to re-energise the city more widely, through associated infrastructural improvements and economic benefits.”
Sandy Biggar, Director of Procurement for SSE: “Today’s announcement of our development intentions shows the strength of our commitment to Dundee and we look forward to working with the local authority, enterprise agencies and the people of Dundee to attract world class offshore wind suppliers to the city.”
Lena Wilson, Chief Executive at Scottish Enterprise said: “The Port of Dundee and the wider city region have a crucial role to play in the future of Scotland’s renewables sector. We have a short window of opportunity to put in place the critical infrastructure for a prosperous developing industry and this partnership will bring the public and private sector together with one goal in mind – to create the ideal breeding ground for Scotland’s renewable supply chain to generate maximum economic and environmental benefit.”
Charles Hammond, Chief Executive of Forth Ports, said “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Scottish Enterprise, SSE and Dundee City Council on this significant project for the Port of Dundee. Our ports in Scotland play a key role in supporting Scotland’s economy and this agreement gives great confidence that our Port in Dundee will maximise its competitive advantage as a key location for SSE’s supply chain and a renewables hub for the offshore wind industry.”
Ken Guild, Chair of Dundee renewables and Leader of the Administration at Dundee City Council, said: “We have been pursuing Dundee’s case at the highest levels with our partners and this Memorandum of Understanding represents a renewed opportunity to maximise the city’s potential in the renewables industry. I welcome SSE’s choice of the Port of Dundee as a prime location for the delivery of its ambitious offshore wind projects. The city council will do everything it can to support efforts by Forth Ports and SSE to build a successful commercial development.”
The new partnership signals a collaborative approach to securing a competitive solution for the delivery of sustainable manufacturing jobs and a flourishing supply chain for Dundee. Scottish Enterprise will now undertake a planning exercise on behalf of the partners which will maximise available space at the port and inform future priorities.