Scotland’s trade unions call for nationalisation of green energy schemes

Create jobs while protecting environment, say campaigners

 

Trade unions and green campaigners in Scotland are calling for more nationalisation of climate change and green energy projects to create jobs while protecting the environment.

A joint statement by Friends of the Earth Scotland and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) said the Scottish government must take bolder steps in moving to a low-carbon economy, and support workers currently in sectors that rely on fossil fuels.

It comes ahead of a new energy strategy and climate change plan from the SNP government.

Today’s statement, which is backed by WWF Scotland and the Unite, Unison, PCS, UCATT, UCU and CWU unions, said current plans were ‘not ambitious enough’ and progress has been slow outside of onshore windfarms:

“It is necessary to confront the danger of losing a large part of the industrial base as employment in traditional sectors declines.

Workers, if losing their job in these sectors, should be able to redeploy to new sectors and opportunities for retraining must be expanded.”

It said the government should lead on transforming ‘electricity generation, energy storage, transport infrastructure, energy efficiency and sustainable heating for homes and businesses’, adding:

“Where necessary to secure change at sufficient pace and scale, options for public and community ownership or partial stakes in flagship projects and enterprises should be pursued.”

Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“We should be responding to climate change in ways which protect workers’ livelihoods, create a new industrial base and deliver a fairer Scotland as well as rapidly reduce our emissions.

There will be hundreds of thousands of new jobs in a low-carbon economy.”

STUC assistant general secretary Stephen Boyd said ‘the transition to a low-carbon economy, done the right way, has the potential to increase employment and create a more dynamic and resilient economy’, but called for ‘a more active and interventionist approach’.

A spokesman for the Scottish government, responding to the statement, said it has already met its 2020 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 42 per cent, six years early.

He said a Climate Change Bill with a new post-Paris Agreement target will be up for consultation in 2017, and half a billion pounds is earmarked for tackling fuel poverty over the next four years. He added:

“In the new year we will publish a draft Energy Strategy for consultation, alongside our draft Climate Change Plan, which will outline a long-term vision for the future of the energy system in Scotland up to 2050.”

See: Caroline Lucas: It’s time to kick fossil fuels out of UK politics

2 Responses to “Scotland’s trade unions call for nationalisation of green energy schemes”

  1. Scottish Scientist

    For the Scottish government to invest more in renewable energy plans, it will need to exercise new fiscal powers, to borrow from the central bank, fiscal powers now jealously and exclusively retained by the UK Treasury.

    Scotland’s trade unions should in addition will the Scottish government the financial means to invest in ambitious ends, prising the fight fist of the UK Treasury off the purse strings.

    * Off-Shore Electricity from Wind, Solar and Hydrogen Power
    * World’s biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme, for Scotland?
    * Modelling of wind and pumped-storage power
    * Scotland Electricity Generation – my plan for 2020

    Scottish Scientist
    Independent Scientific Adviser for Scotland
    //scottishscientist.wordpress.com/

  2. Scottish Scientist

    Scotland Electricity Generation – my plan for 2020
    I have published a diagram which illustrates my 5 to 10-year plan (was for “2020” when first published in 2015, but for 2021 to 2026 may be more realistic in 2016), featuring

    “Wind” – wind turbines (and other intermittent renewables such as solar) to a total 42GW maximum power (supplies 6GW at 14.3% power) – (5GW already installed) + 37GW cost £55.5 (onshore prices) to £92.5 billion (offshore prices).

    Total pumped-storage power – 6GW, energy stored 216GWh, – cost £5.8 to £8 billion – illustrated as two components –
    * “Pumped-storage” (new hydro-turbo-pumps, new reservoirs)
    * “Hydro + pumped-storage” (existing conventional hydro upgraded with new hydro-pumps, bigger reservoirs)

    “Peterhead gas” – burning hydrogen gas (H2) from power to gas
    “Longannet bio-mass” – 2.4 GW (upgraded with handling for bio-mass fuel such as wood)
    “Cockenzie gas CCGT” – 1GW (new build) – H2, cost less than £1 billion 1.
    Hunterston B nuclear (as today)
    Torness nuclear (as today)

    Such a plan – total cost £62.3 – £101.5 billion, £12 – £20 billion/year for 5 years (or £6 to £10 billion/year for 10 years) can be afforded as UK deficit spending, – offers
    * 100% renewable power generation, even during periods of no-wind
    * The option to decommission the nuclear power stations at a future date as and when convenient
    * Exceptional flexibility to cope with all circumstances
    * No requirement to import power from England
    * Up to 36GW of intermittent wind power for export, power-to-gas etc.

    NOTES

    I should mention the smarter option of localising multiple smaller electrolysis, hydrogen gas storage and gas-fired power stations each of which to be sited in association with the larger wind farms.
    Localised power-to-gas with gas-to-power has the distinct advantage of being able to use much more of the available surplus wind power above and beyond the limit of surplus power which the grid has the capacity to transmit.
    Possibly the way to invest in wind farm on-site power-to-gas and gas-to-power would be to offer grants and subsidies to wind farm operators to install such plant on site.

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