Far, far away….

One of the problems with all the claims about new “green” jobs from the shiny new “net zero” economy our politicians promise us (or threaten us with, depending on your point of view) is that the massive expansion of “renewables”, in particular wind farms, has produced so few jobs at the cost of such massive damage to our wild places. A side effect of making energy expensive and unreliable is that much of the UK’s capacity to make things has been exported to other countries with lower environmental standards than the UK now enjoys, so the claimed reduction in greenhouse gases as a result of going down this route is dubious, to say the least, since often the things we need are now produced in countries that rely on coal-fired plants to produce their electricity, and then the products have to be transported long distances back to the UK. The sense of that escapes me. It escapes others too.

Broken promises and offshored jobs

This is the title to a reporti prepared in 2019 by the Scottish TUC, on employment in the low-carbon and renewable energy (LCRE) economy. Having first made the necessary genuflection towards the supposed need for an LCRE economy (“the STUC is absolutely committed to building a low-carbon economy and meeting climate change targets”), the STUC then goes on to produce damning information regarding the difference between the Scottish Government’s repeated promises of employment in this area against the reality:

However, we are criticising the failure of industrial policy to ensure that workers, businesses and Government in Scotland benefit from Scotland’s natural resources. Without a domestic industrial base for the LCRE economy, not only will workers in Scotland miss out, but there are serious implications in terms of tax, transparency, economic democracy and meeting climate targets.

The report refers to numerous promises made by the Scottish Government over the years:

Harnessing Scotland’s Marine Energy Potential (2004) – 7,000 direct jobs in the marine industry by 2020.

Renewables Gap Chain Analysis (2004) – 17,000-35,000 jobs by 2020.

Low Carbon Economic Strategy (2010) – annual growth of 4% a year to 130,000 jobs by 2020 (and 5% of the overall workforce). Of the 60,000 new jobs to be created between 2010-2020, 26,000 in renewables; 26,000 in low-carbon tech; and 8,000 in environmental management.

2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy in Scotland (2011) – 40,000 jobs in renewables by 2020.

Scotland’s Energy Strategy (2017) – 4,000 jobs per annum in energy efficiency programmes.

The report looks at the information made available to that point by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The extraordinary fact was that over the time-frame covered by the STUC report, employment in the LCRE economy was falling, and the numbers were nowhere near the levels suggested by the various plans, reports and promises over the years:

While there are issues with the quality of the estimates, the latest figures released in January 2019 estimate 21,400 direct full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in the LCRE economy in 2017. This is a fall from 23,900 the previous year. The ONS estimate a further 25,000 indirect jobs in 2017, taking the total number of direct and indirect jobs in Scotland to 46,400. This was a fall from 50,500 in 2016, but slightly higher than 45,800 in 2015.

The reasons for this were obvious. The lack of a domestic supply chain and manufacturing base means that imports exceed exports in these areas, and what is needed is being made abroad rather than in the UK, at the expense of British jobs. And the trade balance in this regard was widening. Lots of examples were given in the STUC report, such as:

Moray East Windfarm

100 turbines off the coast of Caithness are being built by a consortium involving Portugal’s main energy firm EDPR, French utility Engie and Diamond Generating Europe, a subsidiary of Japanese firm Mitsubishi Corporation. The blades are being built by Danish company, MHI Vestas Offshore Wind – a joint venture between Vestas Wind Systems and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. MHI Vestas have a plant in the Isle of Wight that employs 300 people. Under the previous ownership of Vestas the Isle of Wight plant was closed in 2009, leading to the loss [of] 425 jobs (and a high profile 18 day blockade by workers and activists). The wind turbine jackets are being handled by a ‘first tier’ Belgian procurement contractor called Deme. Deme awarded the contract for 45 jackets to Lamprell – a company in the United Arab Emirates. Lamprell made a 98m dollar loss on its contract for 60 jackets for Scottish Power Renewables, developer of the East Anglia One wind array, suggesting it does not have a great track record in wind turbine jackets.

Numerous other similar examples were given:

Kinkardineshire Offshore Wind Limited – a Spanish joint venture; Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited – a joint venture involving Danes and the European subsidiary of a Chinese company with, allegedly, migrant workers being paid less than the minimum wage, with special concessions granted by the Home Office to allow the employment of Russian and Indonesian workers; Afton Windfarm, with health & safety issues alleged by STUC, owned (at the time of the report, after various changes of ownership) by the European subsidiary of a Chinese company, the turbines having been manufactured in Spain; issues with decommissioning of oil rigs, being transported by Chinese ships to Bangladesh for the purpose.

The STUC’s conclusion was clear:

The examples above illustrate that [there is] a clear over-reliance on overseas financial interests in the LCRE economy. They also illustrate that where low carbon jobs have been created, too often these have been poor quality and non-unionised. This chimes with academic studies showing that green jobs are particularly insecure and prone to the volatility of the market.

The whole report is worth reading for a summary of much that is wrong in this area. The conclusions are worth quoting:

Past predictions of employment in the LCRE economy have not translated into the jobs boom promised. The LCRE economy is characterised by overseas financial interests, a limited industrial base and precarious work. This is a failure of industrial policy that means workers, businesses and Government in Scotland do not benefit from Scotland’s natural resources. It has serious implications not only in in terms of jobs but also in terms of tax revenues, transparency, and economic democracy.

On 17th April 2019, the GMB Union responded to the STUC report, with comments that are still available on that union’s websiteii:

The report reinforces what we have consistently argued about the reality of renewables employment and the challenges posed by the transition to a low carbon economy. Ultimately, it shows what happens when politicians preach and don’t plan.

BiFab is the case in point. Despite all the talk of a green jobs revolution, the fabrication yards in Burntisland and Methil remain empty

The manufacture of 100 turbine jackets and five floating platforms for the Moray East and Kincardine projects will not take place in Fife but in Belgium, the North East of England [hoorah!], Spain and the United Arab Emirates; the result of our industry being controlled by European state subsided energy firms, Far East finance and Middle East sovereign wealth, and their supply chain partners of preference.

This is what long-term political failure looks like and the price is paid in the loss of thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of prosperity to the Scottish economy, starving hope from working class communities in regions of economic deprivation like Fife.

Scotland’s EV charging structure

More than two years later, and one might have expected UK politicians (and especially those in Scotland who seem to be leading the charge to export jobs) to have learned some lessons from all this. Surely, when it comes to the massive task of installing the charging structure for electric vehicles, the Scottish government would have granted the contract to a Scottish company, or at least to one based in the UK? Not a bit of it. On 4th March 2021 the Scottish Government’s websiteiii proudly announced that SWARCO eVolt was taking over the contract “as the back office operator which enables people to access over 1600 publicly available charge points across Scotland.” Amidst the PR hype, they overlooked to mention that this is an Austrian company. And hype it certainly was:

Following a smooth transition, the priority is to continue to improve ChargePlace Scotland’s reputation for reliability and accessibility for electric vehicle drivers across the country. The new contract will bring new jobs to Scotland, improved customer service and better performance information for users and owners and hosts.

It’s quite an irony, then, that the new arrangements seem to have caused chaos, with the Courier reportingiv

Massive problems at a Dundee service centre have wreaked havoc on Scotland’s £45m electric vehicle (EV) charging network.

Oh well, never mind, the report also tells us that

The Austrian-based multinational has already supplied and installed much of Scotland’s charging point infrastructure. The move brought [drum-roll….] 18 high-value jobs into the city.

Two years later

Surely the situation must have improved by 2021? Not a bit of it, as Magnus Linklater, writing in the Timesv, makes clear.

On jobs, for instance, what is the prediction? Once we were told by the SNP there would be 130,000 green jobs by 2020. In fact, as Sir Keir Starmer inconveniently pointed out on his recent trip to Scotland, there are fewer direct jobs in the industry now than in 2014, with less than a fifth of the projected total delivered. Once a wind farm is created it is not a big employer. Even the construction period has limited potential. There is no major UK-based manufacturer of wind turbines, and much of the work is farmed out to cheaper plants in southeast Asia. Most of the big offshore projects are foreign-owned, such as the giant Neart na Gaoithe site off the Fife coast, owned and run by EDF Renewables, a wholly owned subsidiary of a Paris-based group.

It is idle to pretend that jobs lost in the North Sea oil and gas industry will soon be made up by employment in renewables.

What exactly did Sir Keir have to say on the subject during his visit to Scotland? There are numerous reports, but this one from Daily Businessvi is as good as any:

Labour leader Keir Starmer says Britain is failing to build a green economy with more than 75,000 job losses in the sector in the last five years.

Sir Keir accuses the UK government of “broken promises” and the Scottish government of “going backwards”.

During a visit to Scotland he said the Scottish National Party, has broken its pledge to create 130,000 green jobs by 2020.

Figures show progress on green jobs going backwards in Scotland, with fewer direct jobs today than in 2014, making up just a fifth of the green jobs promised by the SNP, he said.

The figures show a loss of 33,800 direct jobs and a further 41,400 jobs in the supply chain for low carbon and renewable sectors between 2014 and 2019. This includes thousands of jobs lost in solar power, onshore wind, renewable electricity and bioenergy, and a huge fall in the number of jobs in the energy efficiency sector.

Slowly the Penny Begins to Drop

On 4th September 2021, an article appeared in the Guardian’s sister paper, the Observer, with the title “Gone with the wind: why UK firms could miss out on the offshore boom”vii

I was unaware of the industry pledge, apparently given in return for taxpayer funding, which does at least help (if honoured), but patently it doesn’t go anywhere near far enough:

A crucial industry commitment, made in exchange for government subsidy, is the pledge to use UK-made components for at least 60% of every windfarm. While this would be an improvement on the existing trend, which has seen fewer than half of offshore windfarms built using UK parts, some say more needs to be done to build a homegrown supply chain and avoid being left behind in the global renewables race.”

The GMB again has its finger on the pulse, and is well aware of the realities in this area that seem to evade the politicians, green dreamers and environmental campaigners:

The industry is dominated by European energy giants. These big developers, which invest in building the windfarms and reap subsidy payments in return, include Denmark’s Ørsted, Norwegian state energy giant Equinor, and Scottish Power, which is a division of Spanish renewables giant Iberdrola. SSE is one of the few companies with turbines spinning in British waters to have a London Stock Exchange listing.

The companies that make up the supply chain – the makers of blades, foundations and high-voltage cables – are often foreign. In addition to Denmark’s Vestas, UK-based blade manufacturers include Germany’s Siemens and US conglomerate GE.

The GMB trade union has warned that the UK risks squandering a major economic benefit by allowing many of the components of its offshore wind boom to be manufactured in the factories and steel mills of Asia.

The labour required to transform steel into the 8,000 wind turbine foundations needed to meet the UK’s climate targets could create 30,000 jobs for the next 30 years, according to the trade union. It would require 20 million tonnes of steel which, if made in the UK, could itself could support another 8,000 jobs.

As things stand these steel fabrication jobs are destined to be in Asia, with the only role for UK workers being to pay for them,” says Gary Smith, the GMB’s general secretary. “This is both unnecessary and politically unacceptable.” He adds that steel supply chain companies are “acutely aware of how far the UK lags way behind” other countries in developing the technology and investment the industry needs.

And yet campaigners continue to oppose the proposed Cumbrian coking coal mine, with a concerted attempt being made at this week’s public inquiry by those self-same politicians, green dreamers and environmental campaigners to make sure that not only will 500 coal mining jobs, in an area of deprivation and high unemployment, not be permitted under any circumstances if they have their way, but the related steel-making jobs will all be exported in a lose-lose situation.

The latest debacle

And still we in the UK seem to be incapable of making “green” jobs, or even retaining those we already have, albeit they seemed to exist only with taxpayer subsidies. Today the BBC tells usviiiCampbeltown wind turbine factory closes permanently“.

So, what’s the story here? The turbine factory in Cambeltown on the Kintyre peninsula is the oldest such factory in the UK, but it has a chequered history. The BBC report tells us that it went into administration in 2011, was rescued, then sold to a South Korean company (CS Wind) in 2016. But in 2019 the majority of the staff were made redundant, and now the remainder are following, as the administrators blame “deteriorating market conditions” . As BBC journalist Douglas Fraser observes, however, “market conditions for wind power have never looked better.”

I’ll give the last words on this debacle to Pat Rafferty, Scottish Secretary of the Unite union, who said:

[T]he Scottish government sat back and watched from the sideline as the firm went bust.

“It’s high time they accept that on their watch, for over a decade now, there has been minimal green and low-carbon manufacturing jobs directly created in Scotland,” he said.

Stop press

I’ve just found some of the green jobs. They’re lurking in another BBC online reportix:

A Glasgow company has been fined £150,000 for making more than half a million nuisance marketing calls.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found that DialADeal Scotland Ltd (DDSL) had made the unsolicited calls between August 2019 and March 2020.

They were about non-existent Green Deal energy saving schemes, including boiler and window replacement, loft insulation and home improvement grants.

…”Calls about Green Deal schemes can be a real problem as people often believe they are legitimate but, thanks to the complaints made by the public, we’ve been able to take action.”

Conclusion

Once more, I’ll let Pat Rafferty of the Unite Union in Scotland tell it as it is:

“There is no jobs revolution – it’s a myth.”

i https://www.gmb.org.uk/sites/default/files/Broken%20promises%20and%20offshored%20jobs%20report.pdf

ii https://www.gmb.org.uk/news/gmb-scotland-responds-renewable-energy-jobs-report

iii https://www.transport.gov.scot/news/swarco-evolt-to-operate-chargeplace-scotland/

iv https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/business-environment/transport/2486779/chargeplace-scotland-why-the-worlds-largest-electric-vehicle-switchover-went-wrong-and-how-a-dundee-team-are-trying-to-fix-it/

v https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/hot-air-will-not-make-case-for-onshore-wind-q35k5vsmp

vi https://dailybusinessgroup.co.uk/2021/08/75000-green-jobs-lost-due-to-failed-policies-says-starmer/

vii https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/sep/04/gone-with-the-wind-why-uk-firms-could-miss-out-on-the-offshore-boom

viii https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-58488135

ix https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-58455022

23 Comments

  1. Together with planned stringent requirements on supporting UK manufacturers in government-backed renewables projects, these measures will mean the industry can reach its target of 60% of offshore wind farm content coming from the UK.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-plans-to-make-uk-world-leader-in-green-energy

    We’ll see how that plan turns out, but whatever happens it is likely to make projects more expensive. The National Procurement Policy now states that such things as jobs are to be considered as part of tenders, as opposed to simply taking the lowest price (subject to minimum standards etc).

    Of course, new/expanded factories appear to rely on subsidies for construction (or companies just play different jurisdictions off against one another to make the best deal, which amounts to the same thing).

    Either way, it seems to escape our leaders that energy is not an end in itself. Productivity comes from how the energy is used. The number of green jobs would rocket if we were all given exercise bikes with dynamos, and think of the co-benefits: generation close to the point of use and improving community fitness levels to name but two. We could make the bikes in the UK, and the steel, etc, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. More today from the Unite union on the collapse of the Campbeltown works:

    “A leading union has taken aim at the owners of CS Wind after the company collapsed into administration on Wednesday.”

    https://www.energyvoice.com/renewables-energy-transition/348773/its-a-national-scandal-unite-slams-cs-wind-owners-as-company-enters-administration/

    There are a few choice quotes:

    “CS Wind’s demise will do nothing to quell the fears of those that feel workers in the UK are missing out on the benefits of the energy transition.

    It comes less than a year after Burntisland Fabrications (BiFab) met the same fate after a deal to manufacture jackets for a wind turbine off the coast of Scotland collapsed.

    In addition to criticising the owners, Unite has hit out at the Scottish and UK Governments over the “minimal” domestic manufacturing work that has been generated by the “billions of pounds” being invested into renewables.

    Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish Secretary, said: “Unite has repeatedly warned of the disgraceful situation developing at the hands of the South Korean owners who have a track record for taking millions in public funds only to run a factory into the ground.

    “The Scottish Government has sat back and watched from the sideline offering absolutely nothing. It’s high time they accept that on their watch, for over a decade now, there has been minimal green and low-carbon manufacturing jobs directly created in Scotland.

    “There is no jobs revolution – it’s a myth. The Scottish Government’s projection of nearly 50,000 jobs by 2020 comes crashing against the stark reality that for both the onshore and offshore wind sectors only 3,300 jobs were estimated to have been created by 2019. It’s a pathetic return on the billions of pounds being poured into and around Scotland’s shores. It’s a national scandal.””

    Meanwhile, the SNP Government at Holyrood continues to bleat its pathetic platitudes:

    “The Scottish Government expressed its frustration that the site had lain idle for “some considerable time”, despite “commitments made” by CS Wind when it took over the facility.

    A Holyrood spokeswoman said: “To help tackle the climate crisis and support our just transition to net zero, the Scottish Government is investing in green skills and attracting new green job opportunities, including the establishment of the Green Jobs Workforce Academy.

    “In November, Glasgow will host COP26 and Scotland can be proud that our climate change ambitions, backed by investment in creating a highly skilled green workforce, will be showcased on an international stage.

    “The manufacturing facility at Machrihanish is a major asset to the Kintyre area and one that should be fully active and providing valuable local employment. Sadly it has been idle for some considerable time now, in spite of commitments made by CS Wind when they took over the lease. As owners of the site Highlands & Islands Enterprise are a listed creditor of CS Wind in the administration process and they will work closely with the administrators.””

    Like

  3. Presumably all “green” work is put out to competitive bidding and Scottish (or U.K.) contractors are then unsuccessful in the bidding process, losing out to foreign competitors. The “green” jobs may be there, but they have gone overseas. If the jobs are to be retained in the U.K. then energy costs will become even higher and numerous international laws will be broken. What are the unions plans to retain jobs in Scotland?

    Like

  4. Alan, of course there is something in what you say, but there are also problems with it. My article was about pointing out that the oft-repeated claims regarding the “green” jobs bonanza the UK is supposed to enjoy, are close to fantasy.

    Secondly, although if contracts were given to more expensive UK companies employing UK residents and citizens, than to foreigners, costs might go up, but so might wages, and unemployment would go down, while the significant drag on the economy caused by the multiplier effect of funds leaving the country, would be avoided.

    Finally, I’m not sure about the “numerous international laws” you think would be broken if contracts aren’t awarded to those offering the cheapest tender. One of the supposed benefits of leaving the EU was that the UK would then no longer have to be subject to the compulsory competitive tendering process that is enshrined in EU law. Of course the government might have compromised on that aim by giving something away when they negotiated the withdrawal and subsequent trade agreement with the EU – I confess I don’t know. I’m not sure any other international treaties or laws would be broken in that scenario: I could easily be wrong, but I don’t think the UK’s membership of the WTO precludes such behaviour.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. @Mark – from your comment above –

    “A Holyrood spokeswoman said: “To help tackle the climate crisis and support our just transition to net zero, the Scottish Government is investing in green skills and attracting new green job opportunities, including the establishment of the Green Jobs Workforce Academy.”

    wonder what she means by “our just transition to net zero” ?

    Green Jobs Workforce Academy – what is it I wonder – “However Labour MSP Monica Lennon said the Academy was merely “a website sign-posting people to job adverts and various courses”
    .

    these people just spout the party line, with no thought involved (as the green jobs figures testify) & they never seem to have to justify this BS to the taxpayers

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dfhunter – very interesting. Reference to the Green Jobs Workforce Academy can be found here:

    https://www.gov.scot/news/new-green-jobs-workforce-academy/

    It looks as though Labour MSP Monica Lennon is correct:

    “The new Green Jobs Workforce Academy, delivered by Skills Development Scotland, will help people take a greener approach to their careers, from accessing training and learning new skills, to finding a new green job.

    This 100 days commitment of the new Scottish Government has been launched as the First Minister welcomed news that ScottishPower were creating 152 new green jobs, of which 135 will be based in Scotland.

    These new roles will be listed on the academy’s website alongside information on the types of jobs emerging in sectors crucial to Scotland’s transition to a net-zero economy, such as renewable energy, construction and transport. ”

    The Great Leader is quoted as saying:

    ““To help tackle climate change Scotland is already investing in green skills and attracting new green job opportunities. It is great to see ScottishPower creating 135 new green jobs in Scotland and I would encourage other employers to follow their lead. The Academy’s career advisors stand ready to support individuals interested in these jobs access the right training to help their career progress.”

    Looks like an advertising puff piece, and not a lot else (though no doubt it will cost the taxpayer a slug of money).

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  7. dfhunter, as for the “just transition to net zero” I imagine not many people are aware of the Scottish Government’s “Climate Justice Fund”:

    https://www.gov.scot/policies/international-development/climate-justice-fund/

    “Climate justice recognises that the poor and vulnerable at home and overseas are the first to be affected by climate change, and will suffer the worst, yet have done little or nothing to cause the problem.”

    It’s interesting that it refers to the vulnerable at home and overseas, and yet, despite the recent efforts of the BBC and the Guardian to persuade us that Glasgow’s poor’s big problem is climate change, they don’t seem to have spent any of the Climate Justice Fund at home (unless you count the £2M given to the University of Strathclyde, but then that was for a project in Malawi, and I don’t think the University of Strathclyde can be regarded as “vulnerable”). In fact, most of the money seems to have gone to Malawi – does someone high-up in the SNP have a holiday home there, or something? I’m sure those climate change-threatened Glasgow east enders with some of the lowest life expectancies in Europe are delighted.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “However Labour MSP Monica Lennon said the Academy was merely ‘a website sign-posting people to job adverts and various courses'”.

    Indeed. Scotlands’s Green Jobs Workforce Academy is mostly just a way of doing a very crude search of an existing government-run job listing website. The Academy’s official URL, greenjobs.scot, diverts to a very simple page at My World of Work, which is run by Skills Development Scotland. If you click on ‘Jobs and courses’ on that page, you are taken to an equally simple page…

    URL:https://careers.myworldofwork.co.uk/green-jobs-workforce-academy/jobs-and-courses

    … that gives you the option to ‘Use our job search’.

    Click on that and you search the entire My World of Work jobs list with the following keywords: energy efficiency, sustainable, hybrid, carbon, electric, renewables, environment, climate, circular economy.

    Unsurprisingly, that search finds some jobs that aren’t at all green. For example, is driving an HGV for a poultry feed manufacturer a green job? Er, no. It’s offered as a green job solely because its description includes the word ‘environment’.

    (Other job descriptions are so impenetrable that it’s impossible to tell whether or not they are green. They are utter bafflegab. But that’s what you’ll find when your search terms play buzzword bingo, innit.)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Incidentally, a lot of the jobs are said to be ‘full time (35 hours)’. Is Scotland part of France now?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The TUC seems to be operating on a different planet to its more realistic Scottish counterparts:

    “TUC: Jobs at risk if UK fails to hit carbon emissions target”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58519996

    “Up to 660,000 jobs could be at risk if the UK fails to reach its net-zero target as quickly as other nations, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has warned.

    The government has pledged to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035.

    But the TUC fears many jobs could be moved offshore to countries offering superior green infrastructure and support for decarbonisation.

    The union body is calling for an £85bn green recovery package to create 1.2 million green jobs.”

    #MagicMoneyTree

    Meanwhile, in the real world:

    “Steel jobs could be at risk if industry comes under pressure this winter from soaring energy bills, sector’s trade association warns”

    https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-9978459/Soaring-gas-electricity-bills-putting-British-steel-jobs-risk.html?ito=amp_twitter_share-top

    “Steel jobs could be at risk if the industry comes under pressure this winter from soaring energy bills, the sector’s trade association warned.

    Gas prices in the UK and Europe have hit a series of record highs in the last few weeks and experts have said a cold winter could push them up further.

    UK Steel has warned this would be ‘extremely damaging’ to companies of all sizes in the beleaguered sector, which has faced a series of crises over the last few years.

    Gas prices have surged because of lower supplies from Russia, which has affected the amount being stored in Europe, and tough competition for liquefied natural gas imports.

    Gareth Stace, director general of UK Steel, said: ‘Continued energy price spikes would be extremely damaging for the sector. Already we are facing electricity prices almost double those of our European competitors and these price increases only widen that chasm.’

    Steel companies have for years asked the Government to cut energy bills for heavy industry, which they say is holding back investment.

    UK producers pay 86 per cent more for power than their counterparts in Germany and 62 per cent more than France. “

    Like

  11. “UK producers pay 86 per cent more for power than their counterparts in Germany and 62 per cent more than France“

    this is madness !!!

    Like

  12. dfhunter, yes it is madness, and it’s Government policy. Worse still, all the opposition parties say it doesn’t go far enough!

    Like

  13. ahh – see you commented on above link, so not new to you.

    found this comment at the link interesting/worthy to repost here –

    “CheshireRed September 10, 2021 9:04 am

    Wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that the UK government has secretly decided to shut down UK steel manufacturing?

    Here’s their rationale: global steel prices are on the floor. UK production prices are uncompetitive with China, with no prospect of ever being more competitive, either.

    UK can thus source globally at lowest cost with no supply issues.

    Steel is high emissions but relatively low numbers of employees. By offshoring energy-intensive steel UK makes large reductions in carbon emissions at a very low per-job cost.

    They know their green transition will come with job losses in some areas, offset by gains in others. Just as they’ve sacked off thousands of coal mining jobs as a result of ditching coal, so too they’ve chosen to wave goodbye to steel industry jobs.

    The Cumbria coal mine fiasco is another example. UK can’t miss 500 jobs we never had, so government have no problem blocking those jobs to prevent emissions from being allocated to UK total. Supply remains unaffected as can come from Australia, US or even Russia!

    They can’t publicly admit these policies and may even have entered into a political code of Omerta with the Opposition, who’re all onside for the green thing. Hence Labour et al seldom question these matters at PMQ’s and so on.

    This follows a similar pathway regarding high-emitting UK aluminum and cement manufacturing. That’s how I see it.”

    Like

  14. just reread your BBC TUC link and noted this bit –

    “TUC research from June shows the UK is currently ranked second last among G7 economies for its investment in green infrastructure and jobs.

    However, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) says the TUC’s claims are untrue and that it does not recognise their methodology.”

    can’t see any links to data or the “BBC fact check team” at work to enlighten readers (BEEB seem to take any Union’s word for thing’s lately)

    Like

  15. dfhunter, as regards the TUC, it gets worse:

    “UK must prepare for more economic shocks, says TUC”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58538887

    “The UK needs to be better prepared for future economic shocks, says the TUC.

    “Covid is not going to be a one-off,” the union federation’s general secretary, Frances O’Grady, will tell its annual congress later on Monday.

    “Climate chaos is here already and the longer we put off getting to net zero, the more disruptive it will be,” she will add.”

    It doesn’t seem to occur to her that the climate has no impact on UK jobs; the UK’s drive to net zero, without the rest of the world joining in (and possibly not even then) will make absolutely no difference whatsoever to her imaginary “climate chaos”; but that it is destroying UK jobs (the jobs of her members) at a rate of knots, and the “green” replacements aren’t forthcoming, in the UK economy at least.

    As an erstwhile leftie and ex-Labour Party member (resigned in disgust years ago), I struggle to understand what on earth is going on among those who claim to be on the left of UK politics, who seem to be brainwashed into seeing the world through a looking glass, and in many ways doing the work of politicians on the right for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. “Climate change: Hydrogen to create jobs – but is it green enough?”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-58545650

    The heading might well have been “will there really be any jobs?” as the last paragraph makes clear:

    “…Wales should learn lessons from the development of wind energy and try to “keep as many of the long-term jobs as possible in Wales and keep wealth and tax in the country too”.”

    Which sounds like implicit acceptance of the fact that the development of wind energy has not created long-term jobs and hasn’t kept wealth and tax in the country.

    Like

  17. “Green jobs: The new generation of workers making it work for them”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-58549135

    “From running huge wind farms out at sea to making new devices to heat our homes, the UK is seeing a rise in interest in so-called green jobs.

    What counts as a green job? The simplest answer is that it directly contributes to tackling climate change, although many think it should also cover roles that indirectly support that ambition.

    Either way, the UK government wants to create more of them, going from 410,000 now to two million of these jobs by 2030, as part of its plans for an economy with zero fossil fuel emissions.

    It’s not a plan without risks, but some areas will provide opportunities to many. Here are three jobs in sectors that are growing – and what it’s like to do them.

    Heating without emissions

    …In Livingston, near Edinburgh, the Mitsubishi Electric factory is making one alternative: air-source heat pumps, which draw warmth from the air to heat your home and water, without releasing any carbon in the process….

    …And it’s also sustainable for people installing heat pumps: in 2019 there were 900 – by 2028 there are expected to be 15,000.

    …Low-carbon farming

    …Visiting 21-year-old Beth Campbell at work in Scunthorpe is like stepping into a world from science fiction.

    She works as a research assistant for Jones Food Company, which is the largest vertical farm in Europe. There she checks thousands of basil plants growing on huge trays stacked above each other, all bathed in a gentle purple light and fed a carefully controlled supply of nutrients….

    …Fixing wind turbines at sea
    Forests of wind turbines are springing up in the waters around the UK and that’s led to a boom in offshore building and maintenance….”

    And that’s it. “Green” jobs in making the heating of our homes more expensive and less efficient; “green” jobs growing basil plants; “green” jobs” in connection with an environmentally unfriendly industry making our energy more expensive, more unreliable and less predictable, while de-stabilising the National Grid. Forgive me for remaining unimpressed.

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  18. When one version of a story just isn’t enough:

    “Green jobs: The UK’s future zero carbon industries”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-58549519

    “The UK’s transition to zero carbon will be a key issue in the upcoming COP26 climate talks in Glasgow.

    It will mean the formation of new industries and jobs which didn’t exist a generation ago.

    Beth Campbell, 21, is a research assistant at a vertical farm in Scunthorpe which uses renewable energy to grow crops which are then sold locally.

    Bridie Salmon, 23, used to work in hospitality but is now retraining as an apprentice offshore wind turbine technician.

    The BBC’s Science Editor David Shukman went to meet them.”

    Like

  19. “Plans to allow oil and gas workers to transfer to renewable energy jobs”

    https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/19590564.plans-allow-oil-gas-workers-transfer-renewable-energy-jobs/

    “GOVERNMENT officials are drawing up plans to allow oil and gas workers to transfer to renewable energy jobs without having to fork out costly retraining costs – currently acting as a barrier to Scotland’s renewables revolution.

    The SNP-Greens government has pledged to set out plans for a ‘just transition’ for oil and gas workers into renewables – but has faced criticism for a failure to bring forward 130,000 green jobs as promised….

    …Currently, workers wishing to transfer from fossil fuel jobs into renewables are having to pay thousands of pounds to obtain qualifications no different to training they have already undertaken….”.

    Like

  20. “We tried to transition to green jobs, but the bosses are closing our car factory down
    Frank Duffy
    Though we don’t want to go on strike, we can’t stand by and watch the British car industry fall victim to offshoring”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/sep/20/green-jobs-car-factory-strike-industry-offshoring

    “More than 500 workers, myself included, at the GKN Automotive factory in Birmingham have voted for strike action to save both our plant and British manufacturing. It’s the last thing we ever wanted to do, but we feel we have been left with no choice.

    Currently, we manufacture and assemble components for drivelines, the all-important section underneath your car for transferring power from the engine and transmission to the wheels. In 2019, 90% of GKN’s components went into traditional combustion engines, but that may halve by 2025, with electric vehicles (EVs) taking 15% of components, and hybrids about 40%. The move to electric will only continue, as UK factories unveil their new vehicle plans before purely internal combustion engines are banned in 2030.

    In order to future-proof our jobs and the British automotive industry, we need to transition to producing components for EVs, including new propulsion systems and e-drives. GKN has developed a new e-drive with UK government funding at its Oxfordshire research facility, but sadly we won’t see this innovation creating new green jobs for British workers. Melrose, the owners of GKN, have decided to close our plant in 2022 and move jobs overseas….

    …Every automotive company in the world is gearing up for the transition. The future can’t be built on outsourced or offshored jobs, where workers in different countries are pitted against each other in a race to the bottom.

    If we all want to see British manufacturing transition to new environmentally friendly technologies so that there are employment opportunities in the future, we need to retain jobs and skills like ours to make that happen. Support us. We’re fighting for your future too.”

    Like

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