There is no doubt that growth and innovation in the renewables sector present significant opportunities in Argyll and Bute. Upcoming projects include the repowering of existing onshore wind farms, the 2GW potential from the ScotWind project, MachairWind, and harnessing tidal energy off Islay. ScottishPower Renewables, the developer of MachairWind, has committed to supporting maximum Scottish content for the project and will work with the enterprise agencies to identify Scottish suppliers with potential to fulfil subcontracted scopes of work.
In addition, we have committed to invest up to £25 million over 10 years in the Argyll and Bute growth deal, which will further drive our sustainable economy and support a just transition in the region.
Scotland’s renewable energy industry continues to move from strength to strength, and growing this part of our economy will form a vital part of realising our net zero goals. In the near future, the Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise is planning to visit Argyll and Bute, where manufacturers such as Renewable Parts in Lochgilphead play a vital role in the supply chain for the renewable energy industry. Can the minister provide further information about the steps that the Scottish Government is taking to equip Scotland’s workforce with the necessary skills for the green jobs of the future?
We are taking several steps to ensure that people across Scotland have the right skills to support our just transition to net zero. To give an example, the climate emergency skills action plan remains central to our ambitions to develop a workforce that can support the transition. Developments to date include the launch of the green jobs workforce academy platform in August 2021, as well as a suite of green skills training initiatives, which are delivered through the national transition training fund. In addition, we are investing £100 million over five years to help businesses create new green jobs as they transition to a low-carbon economy.
To meet our net zero targets and achieve a just transition, we have to change the way in which we heat our homes. However, air source heat pumps, which seem to be the focus of Government policy, are totally inappropriate for tenemented properties. Can the minister set out the Scottish Government plans to invest in municipal heat networks, so that those who live in tenemented properties can change the way in which they heat their homes?