The Energy Sector
A greener scotland will make our communities more sustainable. We are lucky to have had oil but of course the resource has been mismanaged and sooner or later we need to make the transition to renewable energy.
We know that the oil prices are volatile which is why most oil producing countries put some revenue aside to offset the lean times and to protect our business, workers and communities.
The Highlands and Islands has provided fabrication yards, oil and gas terminals, supply vessel ports, subsea engineering and oil service companies. Above all we have provided much of the manpower which fuelled the oil boom.
The oil industry has been a necessary lifeline for many Highland and Island communities where traditional industries have been in decline. The higher than average salaries has allowed many to start up their own business, build their own homes and spent money in their own communities which is then further recycled.
We need to protect the jobs we currently have but also diversify the economy, we need to be using the industries talent and transferring this into other technologies such as renewables.
In our constituency, we have an abundance of renewable energy potential, hydro wind, wave and solar and with our engineering expertise, we could be at the forefront of renewable technology development.
It’s a great opportunity, but we need to take a leaf out of Shetland and Norways book, and ensure that local communities enjoy a direct benefit from our vast energy resources.
We live in an area of incredible natural beauty, so of course there has to be a balance between planning and development versus protecting our landscape, but with consultation and care, we can achieve that balance.
I know that fracking licenses have been granted within this region. At the moment I would say no to fracking, I am not convinced it is safe, it will undermine our oil and gas sector, and we don’t need it. It’s a new technology heading in the wrong direction in terms of climate change.
We need the human and societal consequences of the volatile oil markets to stop. However, what we need is independence to manage our own natural resources, invest our tax revenues in our own communities, provide stable jobs to our work force and to provide Scotland with a better future.