THE Scottish Government has been urged to heed a major intervention on renewables being “sold on the cheap” as a “wake-up call”.

Kenny MacAskill, deputy leader of the Alba Party, told the Scottish Government it must listen to a stark warning from leading renewables entrepreneur Simon Forrest, founder of the Nova Innovation tidal energy firm.

We told previously how Forrest had warned that the ScotWind sale – which saw leases for companies to build windfarms sold “for a song” – must not be repeated.

He accused the Scottish Government of having “thrown away” the benefits of its major renewables resources.

Critics of the policy say the contracts were undervalued and that the Scottish Government has done too little to ensure the country’s economy will reap the benefits of new windfarms.

The National: Kenny MacAskill

MacAskill (above) said: “This confirms everything that the Alba Party has been warning about, the risk of losing out on renewables, just as we’ve had our oil stolen. The ScotWind sell-off for a song – when other countries obtained billions more for less – was said to be mitigated by supply chain work.

“Yet few turbines are being built here and yards lie empty.

“Other supply chain work has been limited other than the recent announcement at Nigg. But that falls for short of what should be happening.

“Scotland should be booming, building turbines and providing for the sector. Jobs and businesses should be locating here yet few are doing so and work is being lost.

“This intervention is a wake-up call which the Scottish Government must take heed of.”

Kevin Stewart (below), the SNP MSP for Aberdeen Central, said: “The SNP Scottish Government will soon be publishing its green industrial strategy, setting out the steps we will take to maximise the benefits that Scotland’s abundant natural resources can deliver across our economy.

The National: Housing Minister Kevin Stewart

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“But in several areas, progress is being held back by factors such as grid capacity and the lack of a market mechanism for pumped hydro storage, which is why we need urgent investment from Westminster now.”

But the Scottish Conservatives told The National Forrest’s comments were a “scathing intervention on the failures of the SNP-Green’s strategy”.

Douglas Lumsden (below), the party’s energy spokesperson, said: “Even though ministers have constantly talked up the use of renewables – at the expense of other energy sources such as oil and gas and nuclear – they are failing to support that sector too.

“It is time SNP-Green ministers recognise the need for Scotland to have a mix of energy sources in order to protect thousands of jobs and achieve net zero.

The National:

“Instead, ministers are cutting crucial budgets in relation to energy efficiency and should address these damning remarks as a matter of urgency.”

The Scottish Greens said that while Holyrood was constrained by the limits of devolution, they were working in Government to “speed up the transition and ensure that we are working towards the cleaner, greener Scotland that we all want to see”.

The party’s climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell (below) added: “Forrest is right to say that Scotland needs a green industrial strategy and plans to ensure that we are maximising the huge opportunities that are presented by the transition, both for our economy and our environment.

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“With Scottish Greens in government, we have made some really significant progress in terms of building the renewables industry, especially onshore wind, with Fraser of Allander recording a 50% increase in green jobs in 2021 alone. But there is more to do.

The National: Mark Ruskell

“There are lots of important investments taking place: such as the recent announcement of the £350 million from Sumitomo which will create hundreds of new jobs in cabling manufacturing. This is a great step forward but it will take time to build up an entire supply chain for all renewables sectors.”

Liam McArthur (below), the Scottish LibDems climate emergency spokesperson, said: “The SNP’s choices mean that Scotland has missed a big opportunity to raise revenues that could have allowed different decisions on tax and public spending.

The National: Liam McArthur

“For years nationalist politicians have sulked that we should be like Norway with their vast oil fund but the Scottish Government sold Scotland’s prized sea bed on the cheap and achieved only a fraction of the prices that are seen elsewhere in the world.

“It capped the price that companies were allowed to pay for ScotWind sites well below what was expected, thereby botching the best chance for generations of bringing much-needed funds into government coffers.

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“The problem is that, once that money is gone, it is gone. Those rights are sold only once. Scotland needs to get serious about ensuring that the benefits of the renewables revolution accrue to communities across the country, not just to the same international energy giants.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “ScotWind will deliver around £700 million in revenues for the public purse just from these initial awards alone – the programme promises to deliver billions more in rental revenues once projects become operational, to be invested for the benefit of the people of Scotland.”

They added that ministers expected ScotWind projects to generate £25 billion of investment across the wider supply chain and that revenues will be invested in “our journey to net zero”.

Scottish Labour declined to comment.