Prospect’s submission adds that the current development pipeline for Scottish offshore wind does offer a credible basis for ramping up of activity, but highlights two major areas of concern.
The first is the careful sequencing of projects to balance competing pressures, such as sufficient activity to benefit from economies of scale, while still allowing time for proper planning and environmental assessment.
Secondly, offshore wind needs to be seen as an economic development opportunity for Scotland, as well as a means of achieving net zero climate targets. There is a risk that current developments will result in minimal benefits for Scottish workers and the Scottish economy.
The submission continues:
“A more effective, and fairer, use of public funding, an activist industrial policy, and adequate provision of skills and training support, will be critical to developing an indigenous supply chain and a skilled workforce that can deliver projects locally and reverse the recent trend of work and jobs being sent offshore.”
Health and safety
Prospect also highlights the paramount importance of health and safety in offshore renewables, pointing out that the accident rate is currently three times higher in offshore oil and gas.
The union calls for a more collaborative approach to health and safety monitoring and reporting in offshore renewables, including active engagement with the workforce.
A growing skills shortage, an ageing workforce and the lack of diversity in the energy sector are other areas of concern, highlighted in the submission.
However it adds that, with the right policies, Scotland could become a world leader in offshore wind.
“Scotland has the skilled workforce, dockyard facilities, and the experience in marine energy and engineering to develop a competitive global position in offshore wind.”
The Scottish government consultation closes on 25 March, and responses will be used to inform its final offshore wind policy statement.