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Alan Simpson: It’s time to match jobs with Salmond’s bluster over wind power



At least our human rights remain intact.

Sadly, the SPFL remains pretty broke and there remains very little chance of clubs like Ross County being sponsored by the sovereign wealth fund and shelling out millions on the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo.

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But the essence of what Mr Salmond said remains true and slowly – very slowly – a green energy revolution is taking place across the country.

Everywhere you look, there are turbines whirring away in the summer gales, both offshore and on the top of hills.

One off the coast of Aberdeenshire has even wound up Donald Trump as an added bonus.

But while a lot of our electricity does come from renewables, there is very little benefit in terms of jobs or money going into the public coffers.

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That is nothing short of a disgrace and the Scottish Government should hang their heads in shame for squandering a once in a generation (pun intended) opportunity.

Yards across the country should be bursting at the seams with new orders for turbines, while the supply chain should employ thousands of people.

Instead, there is next to nothing with everything manufactured overseas with even England being way ahead of Scotland in terms of jobs and manufacturing capability.

A report published yesterday said the UK needs to triple the rate at which it is installing offshore wind farms and must boost manufacturing to meet demand.

The report by think tank IPPR says that on current rates of installation, the UK will miss its 2030 targets for offshore wind capacity by 18 years.

It will also miss out on revenue and jobs from a thriving renewables sector.

Despite its leading role in the amount of offshore wind it has installed – second only to China – the UK fails to be in the top three European nations for manufacturing any major component of the wind supply chain such as blades, towers or cables, the report warns.

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If it had exploited its huge market for wind installation in manufacturing to the same extent as other leading nations such as Denmark, it would have generated up to an additional £30billion between 2008 and 2022, it says.

Simone Gasperin, associate fellow at IPPR, said: “The UK has missed out from becoming a world leader not just in wind power, but also in wind manufacturing.

“This has cost thousands of jobs, billions for the economy, and is putting future net zero targets for wind deployment at risk.”

Thankfully, the report coincides with a newly released offshore wind industrial growth plan, created by RenewableUK, the Offshore Wind Industry Council, The Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland.

This details how the country can finally create tens of thousands of jobs and generate billions for the economy.

It is not before time, but quite why it has taken them this long is beyond me.

But it could well be a fair wind that blows in after all and not just politicians’ hot air.

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