300 renewable energy jobs boom for North of Scotland expected at Nigg Energy Park

DGP20150601-7668

(c) gegroup.com

This looks like very good news for the area around the Nigg Energy Park in the Cromarty Firth which has lost many jobs in the past. According to Energy Voice yesterday:

‘A jobs boom could see 300 jobs created at Nigg Energy Park in the Cromarty Firth if ambitious plans to diversify from the oil and gas industry to offshore renewables are given the green light. Global Energy aims to expand the oil fabrication yard to enable it to deal with massive 100-metre steel towers for windfarms.’

https://www.energyvoice.com/otherenergy/161279/hope-300-renewable-energy-jobs-boom-nigg-energy-park/

This looks like an extremely wise move as the demand for the more reliable, in terms of supply, offshore windfarms and tidal energy plants, grows in the wake of early successes such as the huge offshore windfarm off the Moray coast and the world’s largest tidal energy plant in the Pentland Firth. See, for more detail:

A monstrous offshore wind-farm is planned for the Moray coast, to power 750 000 homes and create 2 000 jobs. More evidence we need the Union to survive?

As world’s largest tidal energy plant in Pentland Firth generates 1GWh which is enough for 700 000 homes, will Scotland become the most energy-rich country in Europe?

This can be the beginning of much greater growth in employment in the renewables industries which I’m sure we all would welcome as an independent Scotland re-industrialises at the same time as it reduces its carbon footprint. See this for more on that potential:

Scotland’s offshore wind electricity generation capacity could be five times greater by 2030

 

 

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3-year high for Scottish oil as it stays near $70 per barrel for third week

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(c) thetimes.co.uk

According to Energy Voice on Friday, the Brent price for March sales is £69.37 after breaking through the $70 price on 12th January. See:

Scottish oil crashes through $70 per barrel figure. Time to reap this fortune and to remind BBC Scotland News?

This comes as predictions are repeated that prices will rise further as demand soars in Asia and US stockpiles fall faster than expected. See:

Second prediction that Scottish oil may rise beyond $70 per barrel to as much as $100 per barrel and that demand will grow over the next ten years.

https://www.energyvoice.com/marketinfo/161386/oil-hovers-near-3-year-high-u-s-stockpiles-forecast-drop/

I’m not seeing much sign of this story outside of the specialist industry outlets. Surely, the Scottish mainstream media have a duty to keep their audience up to date. It’s looking like the familiar strategy of bias by omission so its up to us on social media to keep sharing and wearing down the case against independence.

Remember it only costs $12 to $15 per barrel to raise the oil so the profit margins are now immense and ripe for taxation.

Is 38 Degrees now part of the Unionist propaganda machine?

38degrees-orange

Is 38 Degrees now part of the Unionist propaganda machine?

I’ve signed many of the petitions raised by 38 Degrees. I had thought them a highly praiseworthy and trustworthy organisation, until now. However, their latest ‘Scotland’s NHS needs our help’ campaign has a bad smell about it. That smell comes clearly from the nature of the sources they use but, given their choice of sources, I’ beginning to wonder if something is rotten deeper in the organisation. Here’s the email they are circulating. I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it below but before I do, let me say these:

‘There is no crisis in NHS Scotland.’

‘There is a crisis in NHS England.’

‘There was a temporary problem in (only) Scotland’s A&E departments caused by a massive increase in cases of flu.’

________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear John,

Scotland’s NHS needs our help. New figures show that in one week this year almost 1,500 Scots were forced to wait more than 8 hours – and some as many as 12 hours – to be treated in A&E departments. [1] That’s just not good enough.

The Scottish Government say the flu crisis is to blame. [2] But this is a problem that’s been bubbling under the surface for a long time. [3] Scotland’s NHS simply needs much more money to provide the world-class service our country deserves.

The Scottish Government is working out the details of its new budget at the moment. [4] That means there’ll be intense conversations behind closed doors to iron out the details of where money will get spent. If we can get our voices heard in those debates, we can make sure our NHS gets the money it needs.

Will you sign the petition telling the Scottish Government’s health minister to make sure our NHS gets the funding it needs?

SIGN THE PETITION
Things might not be as bad up here as they are down south. But that isn’t much consolation to someone stuck in a waiting room for 12 hours.

People in Scotland deserve the best healthcare possible – and right now, that isn’t what we’re getting. Whether it’s waiting times, or local hospital services facing cuts, it’s clear that our NHS needs much more funding that it’s getting right now. [5]

It doesn’t have to be this way. If enough of us speak up, we can show the Scottish Government that they need to take bold action and give the NHS the money it desperately needs.

Will you sign the petition now to get our NHS the funding it deserves?

Notes:
[1] Daily Record: A&E 12-hour wait shame continues as flu chaos continues to strain NHS:
https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/flu-chaos-continues-wreak-ae-11863467
[2] The Telegraph: SNP Health Minister: Scottish flu cases have doubled but NHS problems here not as bad as England’s:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/04/snp-health-minister-scottish-flu-cases-have-doubled-nhs-problems/
[3]You can read more about issues the NHS is facing in Scotland here:
The Independent: NHS winter crisis: Lanarkshire health trust drafts in office workers to help with cleaning amid soaring demand for A&E services:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/nhs-winter-crisis-latest-updates-lanarkshire-trust-scotland-accident-emergency-non-urgent-office-a8140411.html
BBC: Scottish NHS ‘urgently’ needs long-term staffing plan:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-40728831
Scotsman: NHS Scotland staffing time bomb as one in five Scots nurses over 55 https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/nhs-scotland-staffing-time-bomb-as-one-in-five-scots-nurses-over-55-1-4646061
PlanetRadio: Highland hospitals closure threat sparks huge demonstration:
https://planetradio.co.uk/mfr/local/news/watch-highland-hospitals-closure-threat-sparks-huge-demonstration/
The Scotsman: Hospitals and NHS Scotland facilities ‘may need to be axed’:
https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/hospitals-and-nhs-scotland-facilities-may-need-to-be-axed-1-4513073
[4] BBC News: What does 2018 have in store for Scottish politics?:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-42606930 BBC News: Summary of draft budget: Key points at a glance: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-42353784
[5] The Telegraph: A&E chiefs from 68 hospitals warn patients are ‘dying in hospital corridors’ amid ‘intolerable’ safety risks:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/11/hospital-crowding-soars-amid-rising-cases-norovirus-aussie-flu/

So, what’s wrong with this? I’ll try to keep it short and to the point:

  1. There is no hard, objective, evidence of a ‘crisis’ in NHS Scotland, as a whole, though there has been a temporary problem caused by overload in (only) Scotland’s A&E departments.
  2. The ‘evidence’ of a crisis offered by 38 Degrees comes entirely from newspaper sources. 7 of the 9 sources used come from 4 outlets with a clear anti-Independence and anti-SNP agenda – Scotsman, Telegraph, Record, BBC.
  3. There is little use of sources from less-partisan newspapers such as the Guardian or independent. The one Independent article actually makes the case for the robust and communitarian nature of NHS Scotland and its ability to pull together to deal with additional temporary pressure. The final Telegraph article is entirely about NHS England and has no relevance to the case being made.
  4. More importantly, there is no use of reliable, rigorous, research-based evidence at all, despite the fact that examples such as those from the Nuffield Trust and Audit Scotland are there to confirm the overall success of and crisis-prevention mechanisms in place in, NHS Scotland. See these, 38 Degrees: Research Report, July 2017, Learning from Scotland’s NHS at: https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/files/2017-07/learning-from-scotland-s-nhs-final.pdf and http://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/uploads/docs/report/2017/nr_171026_nhs_overview.pdf
  5. Even if they found the above a bit long difficult to read, they might have used this from the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-42648951?SThisFB

So, to use their own words, that’s just not good enough 38 Degrees. I can’t tell for certain whether you’ve been taken in by someone from the Unionist groups and have naïvely wandered into their camp or whether 38 Degrees does actually hold an explicit anti-independence position and is prepared to let it bias its campaigns. Your Scottish supporters have a right to know.

Footnote: Several comments below add fuel to the idea that 38 degrees may have been infested with Scottish Labour ideas for campaigns.

Scotland’s offshore wind electricity generation capacity could be five times greater by 2030

Scotland-Releases-Guidance-for-Community-Benefits-from-Renewables

(c) offshorewind.biz

A report by Aurora Energy Research, in Insider, for the whole of the UK suggests:

‘Offshore wind capacity could increase five-fold by the 2030s, cutting carbon emissions and saving on consumer bills, analysis suggests. The step change in the amount of wind turbines in the seas around Britain’s coasts could be achieved with contracts that by 2025 are effectively zero-subsidy.’

https://www.insider.co.uk/news/offshore-wind-projects-2018-predictions-11868267

We already know that subsidy costs for renewables generally are falling fast and below those of other forms of generation and presumably heading toward what they mysteriously refer to as ‘effectively zero-subsidy’. See:

Subsidy costs for Scottish off-shore wind and tidal energy farms likely to fall below those needed for new nuclear plants making the latter an even more stupid choice

We also know that 25% of the offshore wind available lies (blows?) in Scottish waters so it seems likely that around a quarter of that overall five-fold increase would be there. See:

Re-opened Scottish dock to build state-of-the-art floating windfarm to begin to exploit Scotland’s 25% share of all of Europe’s offshore wind potential

However, in the light of other knowledge, I’m not clear if Scotland would actually need a five-fold increase given that we are already exporting energy and that we are close to 100% sustainability in the next three years unless, of course, we plan a humungous level of energy exporting to rUK and Europe. Our current overall demand is less than 17GWh

http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/01/3414/6

 

rencapac

Current supply (September 2017) is 9.7GWh and is projected to reach 21.3GWh before 2020 (see graph above). This suggests oversupply of at least 5GWh which can be exported. Though a relatively modest figure, it can be added to the overall energy exports from Scotland. 73% of all primary energy worth £16 billion is exported to rUK and beyond.

http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0051/00514475.pdf

Remember ‘exports’ of energy to rUk are not included in Scotland’s already healthy, and unique in the UK, trade surplus figure.

So, a five-fold increase would be around 100GWh of which Scotland would only require around 17GWh? How much would 83GWh earn?

Scottish Chambers of Commerce survey suggests 2018 will be a good year for the Scottish Economy

index

Though apparently accepting the meaningfulness of those useless GDP estimates, a survey of Scottish businesses carried out for the SCC gives cause for optimism in the year ahead. Here’s what they said without providing any detail:

‘The cause of such optimism? The Scottish Chambers of Commerce quarterly economic indicator. It is suggesting that the nation’s businesses are coping admirably in the face of much uncertainty (for uncertainty, read Brexit). Among the sectors providing much optimism are manufacturing, financial and business services.’

https://www.insider.co.uk/news/scottish-chambers-commerce-economic-indicator-11868404

In a linked report available in the full text at the url above, the optimistic headline is then swamped with a trail of ‘ah buts’ but still no sign of the positive indicators the two positives headline suggests they had gathered – strange?

Why haven’t they given us any numbers? Are they too good for us?

SNP Gooood report on BBC Scotland News website is unbalanced without comment from Murdo Fraser

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Once more, the BBC Scotland website presents good news without the usual sting in the tail from Murdo Fraser or Jackie Baillie. A presumably unsupervised young webmaster still to do the SNPBaaad staff development module produces a factual piece I can’t complain about, writing:

‘Holyrood is taking on responsibility for a raft of social security powers including disability living allowance. The Scottish government is to amend its social security legislation to give people the right to have someone with them during welfare assessments. A bill is currently under consideration at Holyrood to set up Scotland’s own devolved social security system.’

They even let Jeanne Freeman say that this was proof that Scotland will do things differently. That’s what I’ve been saying here for some time. See below.

Holyrood will be responsible for other social security powers including:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payments
  • Carer’s Allowances
  • Discretionary Housing Payments
  • Winter Fuel Payments

They even let her go on to say:

‘Under the current system, people who attend assessments aren’t able to have someone with them during the assessment. We have all been in situations where we could do with a helping hand from someone who knows us, or just a bit of moral support. This is proof that Scotland will do things differently and one of the first ways we can show people we mean exactly what we say.’

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-42739130

Brilliant, I love it. As you know, I never miss an opportunity to remind you of earlier reports here saying something similar, so see:

In a year of terrible events, we can still feel that this wee country is getting better as it drifts away from the callous, post-imperial, values of Tory Britain

Ah, too late, here comes Murdo or Ruth:

‘SNP allow alleged benefit fraudsters to advise the disabled on how to cheat.’

European visitors increase spending in Scotland by 24 times the increase in the UK as a whole!

Falkirk-Wheel

(c) Daily Record

From gov.scot yesterday and perhaps linked to my previous piece on record investment in Scottish hotels last year and under the headline:

‘20% more visitors from Europe choosing to come to Scotland.’

we read:

‘The latest statistics show the number of overseas tourists coming to Scotland has increased by 15% in one year – driven by a substantial rise in European visitors. Figures released today by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show 20% more visitors from Europe came here in the 12 months to September 2017 – a total of 1.8 million people – and spent £1.1 billion, 24% more than during the previous 12 months. For the UK as a whole, the increase in European visitors in this period was lower, at 6%, with expenditure up 1%.

https://news.gov.scot/news/international-visitors-on-the-rise

This is very marked contrast between Scotland and the UK which requires explanation. While it is impossible to be certain, it seems likely that a combination of the quality of the attractions, the Outlander effect and a perceived sense of greater security away from the terrorism-afflicted capital cities will be behind much of this. The benefits of the weaker pound apply to the whole of the UK and cannot be responsible for this difference between Scotland and the rest. See these recent reports for more:

Scotland wins two Rough Guide Readers’ Awards – Favourite destination and most welcoming country.

‘Outlander links see visitors to historic sites soaring’

‘BLOODY HELL Robert the Bruce movie Outlaw King will feature some of the bloodiest battle scenes in cinema history’, put Braveheart in the shade and boost tourism like Outlander.

North Americans lead surge in Scottish tourism because they feel safer here

I appreciate that the evidence of avoiding perceived terrorist threat is, so far, only from North American tourists.