As folk struggle to heat their homes I thought I’d heard all the absurdities of an Energy Rich Scotland yet Fuel Poor Scots until I received an e mail from a sailor being made redundant. His tale encapsulates the absurdity of what’s happening to our energy resource and how neither in East Lothian nor in Scotland are we getting the benefit of it.
He’s on a ship working on the Neart Na Gaoithe offshore windfarm located across the Forth 15 kilometres off Fife. The energy’s being cabled ashore near Torness and anyone driving up to Innerwick will see work ongoing. There’ll be 54 turbines producing enough energy to power almost 350,000 homes.
It’s owned by EDF and ESB. Those acronyms hide state owned companies but neither Scotland’s nor the UK’s. The former’s the French state energy company and the latter’s the Irish state electricity company. We have the absurdity of the profits, and they’ll be substantial, going not to Edinburgh or London but instead to Paris and Dublin.
Ah well we’re told we’ll get the supply chain jobs. Really? The turbines are being manufactured by Siemens in Hull with the only work relating to their construction being their assembly in Dundee. But the high value contracts and high paid jobs are in construction not assembly and a few miles along the coast, BiFab at Methil lies idle. The cabling and shipping contracts and bulk of the work have likewise gone to foreign firms.
Oh well that might not matter some might say if we get the jobs though I doubt Norway ever thinks that way? But my source has been working on a ship and has just had a redundancy notice. He and the rest of the UK crew are being laid off and replaced by a low-wage South Asian crew.
This is happening in UK waters, within sight of Fife and East Lothian. We’ll be able to see the turbines but aren’t getting the profits, contracts or even the jobs from them. I’m working with the RMT and will be pursuing this issue with both Governments. It’s simply unacceptable.