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Sarwar promises no “cliff edge” for oil at E-FWD event

Anas Sarwar defended Labour’s plans for the energy sector in an interview at the E-FWD event on June 6. Promising no “cliff edge” for oil, the politician called for investment from all areas to deliver the energy transition.

If the country is serious in its plans to achieve net zero – and a just transition – there will need to be major investments from those in the renewable industry and oil and gas, Anas Sarwar, leader of the Scottish Labour Party, said on June 6 at the E-FWD event in Aberdeen.

Sarwar was in conversation with Press and Journal political editor Adele Merson. The scale of the proposed investments “requires those that are currently in oil and gas and those that are currently in our renewables industry”, he said.

There will not be a “cliff edge” for workers in the oil and gas industry, in Aberdeen, the north east and the wider country. “There will be no turning off the tap. Oil and gas will play a significant role for decades to come,” Sarwar said. “We all agree there needs to be a transition.”

A Labour government would not make “the same mistake” of the last 14 years of the UK government, he noted. “We want to build a genuine partnership. We want to have skin in the game with you.”

Labour’s plans for “skin in the game” largely focus on its proposed GB Energy.

The new company would invest in wind, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and a “transition hub” at Grangemouth. It would also invest in port infrastructure and the supply chain.

CR0047509, Liam Holligan, Aberdeen.
Energy Voice E-FWD 3: The Grid at The Capitol, Union Street, Aberdeen.
Energy Hustings Adele Merson, Political Editor, The Press and Journal • Douglas Lumsden, Conservatives • Michael Marra, Labour • Richard Thomson, SNP • Geoff Aberdein, Managing Partner, True North 18.00 Workshop sessions Group 1: Expanding Interconnection Group 2: Tackling Demand Group 3: Energy Storage Group 4: CCUS / Hydrogen.
Political Panel Seb Kennedy, Associate Editor, E-FWD • Douglas Lumsden, Conservatives • Michael Marra, Labour • Richard Thomson, SNP • Geoff Aberdein, Managing Partner, True North.

Picture of Political Editor Adele Merson and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar.

Thursday, June 6th, 2024, Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson
Anas Sarwar in conversation with Adele Merson. Thursday, June 6th, 2024, Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

GB Energy would invest in, for instance, offshore wind. Profits from those investments could go to community benefit or local government, Sarwar said.

“We want to make the strategic investments that help leverage in many, many, many more multipliers of private sector money in order to realise our ambitions in terms of the scale of investment we need. That’s what it will be.”


Sarwar highlighted that many of the job opportunities presented by the transition would come via manufacturing and the supply chain.

Currently, “the vast majority of the components that come [into the UK] for our renewables industry is actually coming from outwith the UK. We have got to build those supply chains here so we can build large scale jobs here.”

GB Energy would create around 53,000 jobs, he said, while Labour’s warm homes plan would create another 16,000.

The leader of the party went on to say that it had learned from the mistakes of the coal mining collapse, in the 1980s.

“Promises weren’t kept, the mining industry was shut down, people lost their jobs, families suffered, communities were decimated and many of those communities live in poverty to this day,” he said.

Labour would deliver on jobs and partnerships, he said. The plan would see Labour “protecting jobs, protecting livelihoods, protecting families and continue to see the economic potential of the North East absolutely realised and that’s what we want to try and build. This is not, as I say, some kind of ideological attempt to move away from oil and gas.”

Sarwar also highlighted the global competition for investment in low-carbon industries. A new government, he said, would tackle the challenges of grid infrastructure and the planning system “so we aren’t holding people back”.

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