Minister warned not to allow private companies to waste ScotWind benefits
Scottish Energy Secretary Michael Matheson has insisted the government is ‘doing everything it can’ to ensure offshore energy contracts benefit Scotland, after being criticized for being awarded to foreign private companies.
ScotWind’s leasing process has awarded contracts worth £700m to 17 new offshore windfarm projects along Scotland’s coasts, including deals with BP and Shell.
Mr Matheson did not answer whether there would be specific, binding commitments for successful bidders to provide investment and jobs in Scotland, after being urged to ensure the benefits are not “wasted”.
Scottish Labor’s Colin Smyth challenged the minister on how he would ensure that the bulk of the work on the project takes place in Scotland, rather than just ‘crumbs’.
Warning that the ‘penalties for failing to provide developer statements are negligible’, Mr Smyth said: ‘Awarding these licenses is an opportunity for the Scottish economy and Scottish jobs. not waste it.
“History has shown us that developers can go somewhere else, they will go somewhere else.
‘Just a few weeks ago the government sank plans for a public Scottish energy company and the Scottish seabed is now entirely handed over to large multinationals and foreign private investment funds – a decision I hear welcomed by the Conservatives.
“It will bring in around £700million of public purse, but billions more for companies, none of which are registered in Scotland or owned in Scotland.
“It’s not just about offshore wind power, but about the relocation of the benefits that come with it. It cannot also mean outsourcing jobs.
Mr Matheson, who previously said he would meet all successful bidders on Wednesday, said: ‘I recognize that we have not reached the level and scale of foreign investment and supply chain development in our renewable energy sector as we would have liked.
“That is why it is absolutely essential that we maximize the potential benefits of this particular rental cycle from ScotWind.”
He added: “We are doing everything we can to ensure that those who are set out in our supply chain development statements, the level of investment they will be making in the Scottish supply chain – which , as I said, is around £1 billion. for every gigawatt put into service – that it’s delivered and we expect it to be delivered.
“The processes that we have put in place through our assessment of the strategic infrastructure and also through the collaboration framework that has been developed are aimed at maximizing this opportunity.
“And it does so in a way that ensures we reap the economic and social benefits that can come from such a significant level of financial investment within the Scottish supply chain, and we do everything possible for us. ensure they deliver on the commitments set out in their statements.