When ALBA’s deputy leader Kenny MacAskill MP pens a political column we publish it. This is his latest – January 2023 – on the loss of state assets and jobs from the returns of windfarm power.
THE ABSURDITY OF FOREIGN OWNERSHIP
by Kenny MacAskill
Offshore wind should see Scotland benefit from its natural resource and it’s people have access to affordable fuel. Moreover, it should provide for Scottish businesses to benefit from its location and create jobs for Scottish workers.
But one windfarm situated just off the coast of Fife shows the failure of UK and Scottish Governments to achieve that. It also highlights the absurdity of ownership being with foreign state-owned companies and jobs going to businesses outside Scotland and to foreign workers.
Neart na Gaoithe is the site of an offshore wind farm situated just 15.5 kilometres off the coast of Fife and covering an area of 105 square kilometres. It will produce up to 450 Mega Watts from its 54 turbines enough energy to power around 375,000 homes. The energy will be landed in East Lothian where work is ongoing near Torness.
The site is jointly owned by ESB Energy and EDF Renewables UK. EDF Renewables is a wholly owned subsidiary of the EDF Group, Electricite de France the French state-owned power company. Electricity Supply Board, ESB, is the state-owned electricity company of the Republic of Ireland. So, ownership of an asset just over ten miles from the coast of Fife lies with State-owned companies with profits not going to Edinburgh or even London, but instead to Paris and Dublin.
What about the businesses to supply it and the jobs to be created by it? Where are they going?
Fife is home to BiFab but no turbines are being constructed there for the site. Instead, they are being manufactured by Siemens Gamesa at Hull on the Humber. The turbines will be assembled at the Port of Dundee, but the high value contract and the high paid jobs are in construction not assembly.
The foundations for the turbines will be supplied and installed by Saipem. Saipem is a company subject to the joint control of Eni Spa and CDP Equity Spa. Eni Spa is an Italian energy company and CDP Equity is an Italian sovereign wealth fund
The wind turbines are only being assembled at the Port of Dundee they are then transported by Fred Olsen Ocean windcarriers, which is subsidiary of Bonheur, an Oslo listed holding company of the Fred Olsen Group.
DEME Offshore, a Belgian solutions provider in the renewables industry, is installing the inter-array and interconnector cables. This will include 12 separate 66 kilovolt array strings which will connect the wind turbines generator to the offshore substations. The interconnector will connect the offshore substations together allowing the wind turbines to export electricity through the cables.
The contracts aren’t coming to Scotland but what about the jobs?
NnG operations will be based out of Eyemouth, although some preparatory maritime works are operating out of Montrose. The offshore wind farm is in Scottish and UK territorial waters. But UK crew are currently being paid off and cheaper foreign crews are being recruited.
The Solstad Offshore vessel, Normand Navigator involved with the Neart na Goaithe (NnG) Offshore wind farm project has just terminated the contracts of UK national seafarers in favour of foreign workers. UK nationals were hired to replace crew members from the Philippines as the deadline of the “Offshore wind workers Immigration Rules concession 2017” was approaching.
However, a recent extension of the concession on the 31st of October until the 30th of April 2023, by the UK Government has meant that Solstad has decided to immediately terminate all of the British crew working onboard in favour of bringing in a cheaper crew. 36 UK seafarers are losing their jobs with Solstad. Solstad gave their employees verbal notice of their contracts being terminated on the 5th November 2022, with written notice given on the 10th November 2022, but only receiving 3 days’ pay from Solstad. Many of the crew have given up fulltime contracted employment, and now have no income coming in during the cost of living crisis. Other and even bigger contractors have been lobbying and there are fears that further companies will follow suit.
So, as well as the contracts going abroad, so are the jobs.
A windfarm just 15 kilometres off the Fife coast is owned by the State Electricity companies of France and Ireland. The Turbines are being manufactured by a Spanish company at a yard in England. They’re then being taken to the windfarm by a Norwegian boat to be hooked up by cable laid by a Belgian firm. Taken ashore by cable laid by an Italian company to make profits for the citizens of France and the Republic of Ireland.
Meanwhile, a Scottish yard lies desolate in Fife and companies across Scotland are struggling to survive. At the same time Scottish and UK seafarers are being made redundant in favour of cheaper foreign labour. And all the while Scots are freezing in their homes unable to pay their electricity bills even when many can see turbines from their homes.
Enough is enough – there should be a Scottish State Energy Company taking a stake in every field and with contracts and jobs coming to Scottish firms and Scottish workers. We were promised a windfall and supply chain jobs – where are they? Energy Rich Scotland Should Not have Fuel Poor Scots!
Sources: Eyemouth Harbour confirmed as O&M base for NnG offshore wind farm (nsenergybusiness.com). Supply Chain – NNG Offshore Wind. Construction progress at Eyemouth O&M base – NNG Offshore Wind. Neart na Gaoithe (NNG) Offshore Wind Farm – NNG Offshore Wind. Population and demographics – Edinburgh Health & Social Care Partnership (edinburghhsc.scot). The NRS Household estimates of households and dwellings 2019 publication details that there were estimated to be 238,269 households.
When you see it laid-out as clearly as Kenny has done here , how else can it be described other than plunder of Scotland’s immensely valuable/critically important resources ? The plunderers no longer come in longboats , and attack in frenzies of steel and fire – they don’t need to , there is no resistance ; on the contrary , the marauders are given every assistance by the supposed defenders of the looted land , welcomed in and thanked for their services .
That ambulances were called-out 800 times in December to attend to cases of hypothermia in our energy-abundant country , whilst foreign Corporations extract the maximum profit from our resources and the citizens of their countries pay much less in energy costs than ourselves , must stand as one the most disgraceful failures of the pathetic , * Gender * – obsessed , basket-case clownshow that calls itself an ” SNP/Gov ” .
I detest it/them more with each passing day
A scandal to sit alongside Nicola Sturgeon’s incompetent betrayal of the commitment to setting up the promised “not for profit” energy organisation (https://www.gov.scot/policies/energy-efficiency/the-national-public-energy-agency/), opting instead to sell off licences to 17 foreign based companies (https://www.crownestatescotland.com/news/scotwind-offshore-wind-leasing-delivers-major-boost-to-scotlands-net-zero-aspirations) at one-sixteenth of the price achieved simultaniouzly in New York (https://www.cnbc.com/2022/02/25/us-offshore-wind-auction-in-ny-nj-raises-a-record-4point37-billion.html?&qsearchterm=new%20york%20wind%20sale).
Most of us are astounded by what’s happening on this archipelago – the so-called ‘UK’. At the same time that Europeans are hailing an independent Scotland’s levels of wealth:
Scotland’s referendum on French TV compared Scotland to France with the result that Scotland would be 4 places ahead of France in the wealth tables…
“It can very well take care of itself alone, as it is rich. If it was independent, it would rank as the fourteenth rank of the richest countries in the world. Its territorial waters contain 90 per cent of deposits of hydrocarbons of the United Kingdom” 💓
It’s ironic that our french friends are being informed of these facts by their own Mainstream Media, while the Filthy Rich who owns the British Baloney Corporation gets PAID to broadcast its propaganda to their victims?
‘Saorsa’ is Scottish Gaelic for the following:
freedom, liberty and/or redemption… Naturally, everyone’s free to make use of these facts…
How do we get rid of a Scottish government which is failing the people so shamefully?
You deploy constant public attention and pressure on the indequacy or malignancy of the leadership until the party faithful, worried about losing their seats, see them as a liability. Parties alter attitudes under new leadership, the new boss careful not to court animosity for repeating past blunders. But we live in a colonised country so we shouldn’t give our oppressors comfort that we do their job and we do it better, and unpaid. We must box clever.
How can it make economic sense to construct these turbines in Hull then transport them to Dundee to be assembled? Surely if they were constructed and assembled on the east coast of Scotland that would be much more profitable for the companies involved.
So why manufacture them in Hull? Presumably the British government had to give its permission for them to be sited within British waters. Has Scotland been deliberately cut out of the deal as much as possible? I know that sounds paranoid, but it doesn’t make sense to me to do things this way, unless the powers that be don’t want Scotland to look economically successful.
If we were independent then the entire operation would have been carried out in Scotland by Scottish companies. Someone should tell Nicola Sturgeon what her job is supposed to be.
Kenny mentions the Port of Dundee which is part of Forth Ports group, the latter also owned by offshore private equity including an assortment of international interests with limited transparency. Scotland’s major ports were all sold off on the cheap by the Tories and were also handed former port authority regulatory powers giving subsequent private/foreign owners monopoly powers over what are strategic national utilities/infrastructure, including the ability to levy taxes (‘dues’) on ships and cargo, all of which makes Scotland less competitive. This highly irregular practice (private port authority) remains illegal in almost all other countries where responsibility for port planning, investment and regulation always rests with the state. The UK offshore private equity ‘model’ also fails to produce any new advanced seaport capacity to aid the economy leaving Scotland stuck with outdated, obsolete and expensive seaports which further explains why our trade is suffering and will continue to decline.
Scotland’s Ports – Who Owns Them? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z53rebZEdpw
Tha ‘Auld Enemy’ is STILL governed by Westminster parliament… Now, be a quiet and well-behaved area of Northern Britain… after all, they still command the British Army (need we say much more?).