Large areas of the Crown Estate in Scotland are being handed over to energy multinationals and investment funds by the Scottish National Party/Green Scottish government. Climate-destroying big business is being welcomed with open arms to largely run at least 15 giant offshore wind farms off the coast of Scotland, that could generate around 25 gigawatts of energy.
Making a mockery of their claim to being a progressive administration, and that the Greens offer a radical alternative to the climate crisis, the ruling administration in Scotland has proven itself with these measures to be rampantly on the side of profit.
The corporations bidding for the licenses to operate wind farms include some of the most profitable in the world. Major capitalist investment funds in green energy have pitched in, including Australia’s Macquarie Bank.
The major privatised utility companies – currently driving up gas and electricity prices – including SSE and Scottish Power, have also bid. Big oil has poured into these projects to greenwash their reputations and increase profit margins. “Bids are expected from BP, Total from France, ENI from Italy, Equinor from Norway, and Shell is bidding alongside Scottish Power to get into floating wind turbines”, reported the BBC Scotland website.
It is incredible that the billionaire corporations, overwhelmingly responsible for global warming in the first place, are being allowed to cash in yet further. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, claimed: “there is no doubt that the scale of this opportunity is transformational – both for our environment and the economy .”
Scottish Greens energy spokesperson Mark Ruskell, hot on the heels of abandoning pledges to create a publicly owned national energy company, crowed: “This is the biggest industrial opportunity Scotland has had for decades…For years the Scottish Greens have talked about the need for a green industrial strategy that can pave the way beyond the era of oil and gas, and with Greens in government this announcement is a significant step forward.”
The truth is that the Scottish government is privatising this huge green energy potential. They are repeating the action taken by the Tories following the discovery of North Sea oil in the 1970s and handing licenses to the global capitalist elite to cash in.
There will be no form of even joint ownership, only payments to the Scottish government for the licensing of the wind farms, around £700 million, and an ongoing rental payment.
For fossil fuel workers hoping for high-quality jobs and wages in the renewable energy sector, this will not assuage their fears. At present, there is zero manufacturing capacity for wind turbines in Scotland.
Under the control of the multinationals, it will be a race to the bottom, with construction targeted in the areas of the world where wages are lowest.
There is a lot of talk about jobs being created in the ‘supply chain’ sector, but that is no substitute for a publicly owned energy industry and manufacturing sector that would create tens of thousands of decent jobs.
The trade unions, workers, and young people should demand a publicly owned and worker-controlled energy sector, and have zero trust in the billionaires and capitalism to ensure a “just transition”. The bosses will use low cost, for them, wind energy to drive up profits and increase energy prices for working-class families.
Socialist Party Scotland will fight for a socialist plan of production to end climate chaos and ensure jobs and a future for workers in the energy industry. We’ll also step up the fight to build a new mass party for the working class in Scotland to fight for these policies.