SNP and Labour jostle over green credentials

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If the SNP government are given a second-term by the Scottish electorate at this year’s Holyrood election the party promises to deliver 22,000 jobs across the renewable energy and low carbon industry in a variety of areas from wind turbine manufacturing to science and innovation.

At the same time Labour’s Holyrood group leader Iain Gray has announced plans to set up Energy Scotland, a new quango tasked with driving forward Scotland as a world leader in the renewable energy sector with the potential to create over 60,000 new jobs, he said, over the next 10 years.

Pointing to Scotland’s potential overseas market in the energy sector the opposition leader said if he were elected as first minister the new quango would deliver an intelligent strategy which would see the sector expand well into the future:

“Energy Scotland will pull together our strategy to maximise energy generation, energy efficiency and energy use.  It is all about delivery and we will also ensure Scotland is a major exporter of electricity.

“Energy Scotland will co-ordinate our policy on renewables such as wind and wave power as well as nuclear, electricity, energy efficiency, home insulation and household renewables, the grid infrastructure and coal, oil and gas.

“We need joined-up thinking in these areas so we can control energy demand and reduction.  We also have to look ahead to long term investment not just to 2020 but beyond to 2030-50.”

As for SNP, news of their renewable energy jobs pledge comes as SNP leader Alex Salmond announced 500 guaranteed apprenticeships in the energy industry.

SNP Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead set out the party’s ambitions for the future of Scotland’s energy industry saying:

“A re-elected SNP Government working for Scotland will continue the success of the last four years to create 22,000 jobs in our low carbon industries in the next Parliament with a potential 130,000 jobs in the industry by 2020.

“Recent investment from Mitsubushi and Gamesa, alongside developments in marine technology and wind farm construction are just the start of capturing Scotland’s potential.

“Whether in the manufacture of wind turbines and offshore devices, to the scientists and engineers makingnew technology, the farmers investing in renewable generation or those fitting renewable and energy saving measures to our houses there is enormous potential for Scotland.”

Announcing the apprenticeship opportunities in one of Scotland’s growth industries Alex Salmond said:

“Across all industries, it is vital that we continue to produce the skills and expertise that will support long-term, sustainable employment and economic growth.  We are providing, through Skills Development Scotland, a record 25,000 Modern Apprenticeship starts across Scotland in 2011-12, and 46,500 training opportunities overall.  As part of this record allocation, I’m delighted to announce our agreement with Skills Development Scotland to make available up to 500 modern apprenticeships places to support the continued growth in our energy and low carbon economy sectors next year.”