Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

‘Sold on the cheap?’ Nicola Sturgeon defends £700m ScotWind offshore plans

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon.

Nicola Sturgeon accused opponents of “girning” about major offshore wind investment in a row over human rights, profits and selling off access “on the cheap”.

The first minister was visibly rattled by Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar’s criticism at Holyrood days after the £700 million ScotWind deal was unveiled.

Announcing the massive investment in renewable energy, Ms Sturgeon said it is “one of the most exciting things for Scotland in a long, long time”.

But at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Mr Sarwar raised the “questionable human rights records” of some of the successful firms.

He also warned foreign countries, including Sweden, would have a bigger stake in the offshore energy produced in Scotland than the Scottish Government.

‘Sold on the cheap’

Mr Sarwar said: “This SNP Government have sold on the cheap the right to profit from Scotland’s energy transition to multinational companies with questionable human rights records.

“One of the new owners of Scotland’s seabed were fined 54 million US dollars for bribing Nigerian officials and 88 million US dollars for bribing Indonesian officials.

The ScotWind scheme was unveiled this week.

“Another one was found to have contributed to human rights abuses at one of its construction sites, of destroying villages in Myanmar, of relying on forced labour and using slavery to build pipelines.

“Surely these aren’t people the Scottish Government should be doing business with?”

‘Massive potential’

Cases referenced by Mr Sarwar include the Marubeni Corporation that, in partnership with SSE, has been awarded rights for a floating offshore wind turbine site across 858 square kilometres of seabed.

The Japanese organisation paid a multimillion-dollar penalty in connection with a decade-long scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials for engineering, procurement and construction contracts.

Anas Sarwar with Sir Keir Starmer toured a windfarm in Scotland last year.

France’s TotalEnergies, which in a consortium secured rights to develop a wind farm off the west coast of Orkney, was implicated in historic claims that the military government in Burma had used forced labour and its soldiers had employed murder and rape in the laying of a pipeline through the country.

Ms Sturgeon said there were “appropriate processes in place to do due diligence” on the consortiums allowed to develop the offshore projects, and said the deal “offers massive potential to Scotland”.

Major exporter

Responding to Mr Sarwar, Ms Sturgeon added: “Not only does this give us the potential to meet our own energy needs from renewable sources, it positions us with the ability to be a major exporter of renewable energy, including green hydrogen, and it gives enormous potential for our supply chain.”

Sources close to Mr Sarwar claimed the SNP leader later called him a disgrace when the cameras were turned off.

In the chamber, Mr Sarwar replied: “This is about the Scottish supply chain, Scottish companies and Scottish jobs.

“Because the sad reality is that this is an SNP Government that doesn’t understand economic development: Scottish bridges built with Chinese steel, Scottish wind farms with turbines built in Indonesia, ferries not built at Scottish shipyards but built in Poland and Turkey, and now Scotland’s seabed owned by foreign multinationals with woeful human rights records.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in



More from The Courier Scottish politics team

More from The Courier