Highlands looks to become ‘centre of expertise’ for renewables industry

Inverness, capital of the Highlands

THE Highlands is seeking to retain skills in the area through a new £2 million investment in green energy and accompanying jobs.

It is hoped the funding leads to long-term employment, skills development and career opportunities for people to remain and work in the Highlands, the area’s local authority said.

It added that the Highlands has the potential to become the ‘exemplar’ for the green energy generation in the UK, through its ‘abundance’ of natural resources and existing and potential opportunities for green energy schemes and low carbon initiatives.

The Highland Council continued by saying that it is expected that the area is likely to be the ‘major producer’ of hydrogen nationally, given the significant energy potential of the region – with the hydrogen economy estimated to be worth £25 billion to the national economy.

In order to achieve this, the local authority said it has plans to work with further and higher education providers, Skills Development Scotland and industry experts to ensure the region can provide the workforce to support ‘major’ new developments – ultimately positioning it as the ‘centre of expertise’ for the renewables industry.

Depute leader of The Highland Council, councillor Alasdair Christie, said, “The council must capitalise on these opportunities for the benefit of the Highlands for generations to come. It is now time to seize the initiative and invest in making it happen, to secure a fair share of the income derived from the development of the region’s natural resources.

“It will provide benefits to people and nature, helping to mitigate and adapt to climate change, whilst also delivering against our net zero target by scaling up and accelerating existing initiatives such as tree and woodland planting; peatland restoration; marine and coastal protection; flood management and maximising carbon credits for the benefit of Highland communities.”