G R Direct - Free Dishwasher OfferG R Direct - Free Dishwasher OfferG R Direct - Free Dishwasher OfferG R Direct - Free Dishwasher OfferG R Direct - Free Dishwasher Offer
Thursday 25 July 2024
 13.5°C   SSE Fresh Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Energy / Scottish energy secretary visits Shetland: ‘We have all of the energy but none of the power’

MSP Neil Gray (right) talking to a Malakoff apprentice. Photo: Shetland News

NEIL Gray, cabinet secretary for wellbeing economy, fair work and energy, says high levels of fuel poverty in Shetland are “a terrible indictment” and that the solution lies within Scottish independence.

Gray, originally from Orkney but now MSP for Airdrie and Shotts, is currently visiting the isles.

Following a visit to the Viking wind farm construction site he spent some time at Malakoff in Lerwick on Thursday afternoon.

He praised the company for their commitment to offering apprenticeships, training and work opportunities.

“It fits both in terms of the work that they do on the energy side to my portfolio, the economic side obviously but also the fair work,” Gray told Shetland News. “Ensuring that there is good, strong training and reskilling opportunities for the workforce.”

Expanding on his role in energy, Gray said: “We’re in a situation in Scotland where we have all of the energy but none of the power.

“We are able to produce huge amounts of energy through oil and gas at the moment, but the renewables revolution that’s coming through has an opportunity to make a huge economic difference.

“It is a terrible indictment on the current situation in the UK that we have an energy-rich Scotland with such high levels of fuel property – that’s why I believe in independence, why I believe that we could do much better by our citizens if we had control of our energy resources.”

Turning to Shetland’s own resources and the controversial Viking Energy wind farm, the SNP politician says it has “the potential to overnight, effectively, decarbonise the domestic energy network” in the isles.

Wind farm halfway complete with 52 turbines installed – whilst locals raise concerns

“That’s bringing with it a huge amount of economic benefit, in terms of the supply chain already £72 million worth of supply chain contracts to Shetland-based but also other contractors,” Gray said.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“We’re already seeing investments in community projects coming through that wind farm project and it’s estimated over the lifespan of the wind farm development that you’ll see over £70 million of community benefit here in Shetland – that’s huge.

“I would hope that […] part of those investments would be about ensuring that there’s better fuel security here in Shetland.”

As the country tries to transition from relying on oil and gas, Gray thinks it is important to support workers in the sector.

He said: “It’s about making sure that those that are currently working in oil and gas don’t see their jobs cut off.

“We don’t [want to] see a deindustrialisation that leaves communities in a workforce behind, the same way that we saw in areas that I represent in central Scotland under Thatcher and the Tories in the 80s and 90s, where we saw steel and mining communities destroyed.

“It’s about making sure that those communities that have an oil and gas footprint at the moment are able to move on, are able to take advantage of the renewables revolution.

“Some of the engineering and skills that’s involved in oil and gas, a lot of that is transferable to what we’re going to be requiring in renewables.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.