Scottish election 2021: Greens pledge to double wind energy industry

The Scottish Greens have unveiled plans to double the size of the wind energy industry by replacing existing wind turbines with more powerful models as fossil fuels are phased out.

The party’s manifesto said that making it easier to invest in onshore wind would come with conditionality to keep at least 70 per cent of the supply chain in Scotland creating thousands of jobs.

Meanwhile, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie announced the latest in a series of proposals for green investment and renewables from his party, saying Scottish workers must be given the best chance to manufacture offshore wind turbines.

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The party proposes a Scotland-wide effort to scale-up capacity and compete with the world, avoiding further fiascos such as BiFab missing out on any of the work from the well over 100 turbines on its doorstep.

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “Renewable energy is absolutely critical to meeting climate targets and ensuring our survival. Onshore wind already contributes a large amount to Scotland’s energy mix, but it has stagnated under UK and Scottish governments.

“As we shift to electric transport and heating solutions, the demand will grow and so must the onshore wind sector. That’s why the Scottish Greens propose a new deal for wind energy to encourage the sector to upgrade existing turbines and expand. We would ensure that the Scottish supply chain is protected, creating thousands of jobs in the process.”

He added: “Scotland can be a leader in renewable energy, but only if we invest in it. Our future depends on it.”

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BiFab goes into administration after missing out on windfarm contract

Speaking on a visit to Fife College on Thursday, Mr Rennie said: “I am proud to be putting the recovery and the climate first.

"At this election I am setting out proposals to build up new green industries and create thousands of jobs through investment in warmer homes, renewables, the circular economy and hydrogen. We have the wind, the waves, the people and skills to make it all work.

"Alex Salmond promised we would be the Saudi Arabia of renewables. The SNP make big announcements but don't back them up. The workers at BiFab know that better than anyone.”

BiFab, which had two steel fabrication yards in Fife and one on the Isle of Lewis, was put into administration, when it was part-owned by the Scottish Government and a Canadian engineering firm, having failed to win contracts to build platforms for offshore wind turbines.

Mr Rennie added: "Scottish Liberal Democrats will scale-up and deliver jobs at every stage of the process and use Scotland's immense technical, scientific and engineering skills to tackle the climate emergency. It's a task that can only be done with a government that will put recovery first."

During the STV leaders’ debate earlier this week, Mr Harvie came under fire after he admitted that his plans to halt new oil and gas exploration would result in the loss of 100,000 jobs in north-east Scotland.

He has since said the party would guarantee oil and gas sector jobs by transferring them into the renewables industry, including offering additional training to workers moving into new positions.

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