As we prepare to host the flagship UN COP26 conference in November, the UK has an opportunity to chart a course for a more sustainable future, Rebuilding More Environmentally from COVID-19 by creating new green jobs. Not only is this job creation essential to ensure a sustainable recovery from the pandemic, but it is also the cornerstone of the ambition to ‘upgrade’ the country as we move forward.
The UK started the Industrial Revolution and is now leading the Green Revolution. In the industrial heart of Edinburgh, there are already many highly skilled workers in the oil and gas industry who have crucial skills and technologies that are transferable throughout the energy sector – be it geologists, project managers, engineers or manufacturers. There is now a huge opportunity for businesses in Scotland to harness these skills, increase their lasting presence on the global stage and create more sustainable jobs as they go.
One such company is FoundOcean, a specialist construction company based in Livingston, which won a contract to provide the foundations for a 100-turbine offshore wind farm in Taiwan after receiving financial support from the government agency of export credit, UK Export Finance (UKEF). , creating 30 new jobs.
FoundOcean provides the foundation grouting to allow the wind turbines to be fixed to the seabed, creating an offshore wind farm capable of producing over 1 GW of electricity, equivalent to 20% of the level the UK produces already from offshore wind.
The company now has customers around the world in Southeast Asia, the Gulf of Mexico and the Netherlands, as it expects more than half of its contracts will be overseas this year. In fact, 80% of FoundOcean’s business now comes from renewable energy projects, after the company restructured away from oil and gas. This is just one example of the potential for business growth – and jobs – that can be realized by taking advantage of green export opportunities.
Renewable energies now represent about a third of the world’s energy capacity, and that number will increase. Research also shows that companies that export are more productive, more profitable and more innovative than their non-exporting counterparts, which paves the way for new job creation. Companies that can do what FoundOcean has done – export to the many green opportunities overseas – can thrive by doing so.
UKEF exists to ensure that no viable export opportunity fails for lack of private market funding, providing the support needed to help exporters win, fulfill and get paid for export contracts. It has specialists based in Scotland and across the UK, as well as overseas, to help businesses capitalize on the transition.
The road to a greener future will be long, and combined with the recovery from the pandemic, there will be huge opportunities for the UK supply chain. There is clearly a win-win: Scottish companies can contribute to the global sustainability effort, grow their own businesses and open up significant job opportunities at the same time. UKEF is here to make sure that happens.
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Scottish company FoundOcean chosen for offshore wind foundation work in Taiwan