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GMB Scotland calls for new urgency on renewables

Friday, February 16, 2024

GMB Scotland calls for new urgency on renewables

GMB Scotland has urged Scottish Labour to help speed the drive to renewable energy while protecting jobs and communities.

The party’s conference in Glasgow was told more vision, commitment and investment is urgently needed to exploit the economic opportunities of green energy.

Highlighting the threat to close Grangemouth refinery, a motion proposed by GMB Scotland backed by delegates claimed the failure of politicians to build industrial and energy strategies had already cost jobs and risked communities in Scotland.

The Scottish Government’s promise of £500 million over five years to strengthen supply chains was long overdue, GMB Scotland said. It called for a nationwide home insulation programme and urgent research to establish how hydrogen can heat Scots homes by reskilling the workforce of experienced gas engineers and repurposing the supply network.

GMB Scotland delegate Kevin Buchanan said those measures had far more potential impact on the drive to Net Zero than the Scottish Government’s current strategy of banning gas heating in new homes and encouraging the installation of heat pumps.

He also called for urgent investment in Scottish wind supply chains with an aim to upgrade current manufacturing facilities and establish new ones while using the procurement process to ensure jobs are created in Scotland.

Speaking during a debate on how to build a fairer, greener Scotland on the first day of the conference being held at Glasgow’s SEC, Buchanan said: “In the midst of the cost-of-living crisis and stagnating wages, the priority of any strategy must be to onshore jobs and make energy secure and affordable.”

Louise Gilmour, GMB Scotland Secretary, urged both UK and Scottish governments to move with far more pace and conviction to exploit the economic opportunities of renewables.

She said: “We have heard too much talk about just transitions when the only things in transition are green jobs going abroad.

“The need for industrial strategies gets more urgent with every contract that goes overseas.

“We need plans for wind, nuclear and hydrogen that are underpinned with investment and capable of building supply chains, creating well-paid jobs and protecting our communities.”

Gilmour said the failure to scrutinise how the gas supply network might be retooled for hydrogen is only one example of the lack of vision, commitment and urgency while failure to trigger a nationwide rollout of home insulation is another.

She said: “We have a skilled and experienced workforce that could be reskilled and a 280,000km home supply network that could be repurposed for low and no carbon hydrogen but are doing nothing about it.

“There must be vision, commitment, investment, and procurement policies to ensure manufacturing jobs are created in Scotland.

“We must do more and do better and that will demand politicians capable of making and delivering plans to deliver net zero not just talking about it.”


Click on the image below to watch Kevin Buchanan, GMB Activist moving Motion Two on Home Heating.

Kevin Buchanan Scottish Labout Party Conference 2024