Scotland’s multi-billion sustainable jobs boost shows confidence in green economy 

Greens skills must be at the heart of our climate recovery.

A huge £90 billion surge in planned green investment being rolled out in the next three years and securing or creating 77,000 sustainable jobs shows “real-time confidence” in Scotland’s role as a renewables powerhouse, a new report shows today. 

Skills Development Scotland has just released a highly anticipated Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan detailing the agency’s expectations on what is required of Scotland’s skills workforce in order to support Scotland’s transition to net zero by 2045.

The paper, which was researched and developed over 16-months, reveals that investment is known or highly likely to proceed in every region across Scotland over the next three years.

Energy transition in particular is expected to account for more than 65% of all known green investments, amounting to a confident £58.6bn, the majority of it on large-scale offshore wind farms with £48bn of the work already underway. 

Crucially, with regards to a just transition, the pathway report states: “the need to replace far exceeds demands arising from growth” and goes on to estimate “overall, 77,000 people are expected to be required to meet demand across the sectors from 2022 to 2025.”

Including replacing those retiring, it predicts 21,700 people will be required to meet demand in construction or retrofitting and installing net zero heating systems alone, consistent with plans unveiled by net zero homes minister Patrick Harvie on Tuesday signalling a bright future for the sector. Some 12,000 will be required in energy and waste treatment sectors, an estimated 24,900 in transport to support areas such as the uptake of electric and hybrid vehicles, with a further 11,5000 needed in low carbon agriculture and 1500 for wide scale peatland restoration. 

It adds: ‘Green investments (with known scale) total just under £90bn and are happening now or due to take place over the next two to three years. This is a significant level of investment and over the duration of the planned expenditure (up to 10 years) would be around 5% of Scotland’s GDP3 annually.’

Policies secured and announced by the Scottish Greens in government underpin much of the planned investment. Those include the doubling of onshore wind capacity, changes to the National Planning Framework to make approval of renewables developments quicker and easier, along with plans recently announced by party co-leader Lorna Slater to increase Scotland’s solar capacity to ten times current levels.

Maggie Chapman MSP, Scottish Greens economy spokesperson, said: “This report is a clear signal that Scotland is the place to be investing in for a greener future, carrying a skilled workforce with it, and one that creates a net zero economy at the same time as it delivers action on climate. It is evidence of how we are building and transitioning a skilled workforce towards tackling the challenges of the climate emergency and making Scotland a sustainability and renewables powerhouse in real time.”

Ms Chapman, who also sits on the Scottish Parliament’s Economy and Fair Work Committee, added: “The climate crisis won’t wait, and neither will we, which is why our policies are allowing decision makers to invest in Scotland with confidence and on a massive scale unlike Westminster which is squandering the opportunities of renewables and transition including wind and solar, and is instead backing fossil fuel barons at every turn.

“We are investing in a Just Transition for workers moving from the fossil fuel industry to renewables, providing world class training for skilled employees to build up our delivery capabilities, and must continue to do so at pace to retain expertise and position Scotland as the global powerhouse of these industries.”

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