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Renewables and Green Energy: Onshore Employment

Volume 702: debated on Wednesday 3 November 2021

8. What steps he is taking to support onshore employment from renewables and other forms of green energy in Scotland. (903925)

This Government are committed to the transition of the economy to net zero by 2050. We recently published our net zero strategy, which will support hundreds of thousands of well-paid jobs and leverage up to £90 billion of private investment by 2030 across the entire United Kingdom.

Communities must have local as well as large-scale projects such as turbine manufacturing, which Scotland is sadly missing out on, but communities such as my own in East Lothian are denied a share of the wealth going ashore. There is a legislative gap to allow community benefit from offshore as opposed to onshore wind. Will the Minister meet me to discuss this to see whether East Lothian and other such communities can benefit from offshore wind, as Shetland has benefited from oil and gas?

I am always happy to meet the hon. Gentleman, but I would point out to him that this Government are investing heavily in offshore wind, as was announced this week by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.

Scotland clearly has a lot to offer towards our net zero objectives—not least its high-quality wind! Can my hon. Friend confirm that the Acorn carbon capture and storage and hydrogen project is still very much part of the UK Government’s plans for our overall carbon capture, utilisation and storage strategy and our net zero objectives?

The short answer is yes. As I explained a moment ago, that was not successful in the first two but it is a reserve project and we are actively working to ensure that it is there in future rounds.

10. Over 97% of Scotland’s electricity comes from renewable sources. This sector’s expansion is hampered not by potential but by the highest grid connection charges in the UK. COP is an opportunity to reassess such arrangements, so what discussions has the Minister had with Cabinet colleagues on reducing those connection charges? (903928)

I regularly meet Cabinet colleagues to discuss these matters and I will continue to do so. I would point out the investment that my Department is making in renewable energy right across Scotland. This includes the community renewable energy—or CoRE—project in East Ayrshire and tidal energy and offshore wind in Shetland. We are making real investment that will make a real difference to people’s lives and the planet.

Before we come to Prime Minister’s questions, I would like to point out that the British Sign Language interpretation of the proceedings is available to watch on