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RICHARD LOCHHEAD: 'Transition away from fossil fuels will be important'

By Richard Lochhead

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LAST week the Scottish Government published its draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition plan, setting out a route map to secure a fair and just transition towards a decarbonised economy.

'The oil and gas industry has made a vast contribution to Scotland’s economy'
'The oil and gas industry has made a vast contribution to Scotland’s economy'

The draft strategy sets out a plan for the acceleration of Scotland’s renewable energy revolution as fossil fuel resources in the North Sea declines.

Scotland is an energy rich country, with significant renewable energy resources and a highly skilled workforce. And as countries across the globe work to tackle climate change and reduce emissions, Scotland is at the forefront of the energy transition.

With war in Europe, we are living at a time of unprecedented uncertainty in our energy sector and now is the time to accelerate the transition towards Scotland becoming a renewables powerhouse.

Importantly, the transition will help us to mitigate against future volatility in the global market and high energy prices that so many people are struggling to cope with right now. Onshore wind for example, is one of the most affordable sources of energy.

Powers over energy are largely reserved to Westminster, however, the Scottish Government’s draft strategy clearly sets out how Scotland can achieve an energy transition that ensures we have secure and affordable energy supplies, which will support growth in our economy and create jobs for the future.

The oil and gas industry has made a vast contribution to Scotland’s economy and its workers are some of the most highly skilled in the world.

For decades Moray and the North East of Scotland has been at the heart of that industry and the sector has long been a source of good jobs for people in the area.

But Scotland’s oil and gas basin is now a mature resource.

A just transition to a net zero energy system will secure alternative employment and economic opportunities for those already working in the industry and will provide new green jobs in Scotland for future generations.

Embracing this change will ensure we avoid repeating the damage done by the deindustrialisation of central belt communities in the 1980s.

There is a bright future for a revitalised North Sea energy sector focused on renewables, and Moray will have a key part to play in Scotland’s green energy revolution.

I know many people and organisations in Moray will have a big interest in the draft strategy and I would encourage them to respond to the consultation, which runs until April 4 this year.

The draft strategy and consultation can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/news/delivering-a-fair-and-secure-zero-carbon-energy-system/

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