The continuous campaign to plant the idea of a major “Energy Transition Park” linked to the transition to a low carbon economy into the public mind started very soon afterwards. On June 18th 2020, Sir Ian Wood announced a Park at the Energy Export Conference in Aberdeen. Maintaining that Aberdeen must become “a significant onshore base for offshore wind” at an unspecified location in the south of the city, acing advantage of the new harbour.
The ensuing continual reference to energy transition and offshore wind may not have been entirely unconnected to the April 2019 announcement by the Crown Estate Scotland that the next round of bids for licences to develop offshore wind projects (ScotWind leasing) was scheduled to start in October 2019, to be preceded by a prelaunch with more information for interested partiesin July . The very same month as the head of Aberdeen City Growth and Resources commissioned Barton Wilmore, the planning consultants involved in the NBDF and the BNDF framework studies, to clarify the vague bid 486 and to investigate the feasibility of an “Energy Transition Zone” in it, in the context of potential demand for offshore wind. Itcom was seen as a way of moving Aberdeen’s economy away from the declining and uncertain oil and gas industry and as an example of a net zero business area which would attract green energy businesses to the city and develop those already there.
This is viewed as an over-optimistic view given the structural weakness in Scotland’s industrial economic policy, revealed by the fate of Scotland’s exemplar for how offshore wind would transform Scotland’s economy. In 2017, the Scottish Government had to step in to rescue the Fife based renewables manufacturer Bifab, with yards in Methil and Arnish, from going into administration. Even after that the Arnish yard was mothballed (December 2019), while the Methil yard failed to win the contract to build turbines for the extremely nearby naGoaithe farm, being developed by EDF. Its future has been put into doubt in October 2020 after the Scottish government refused any more financial assistance, for legal restrictions on state aid in a commercial business environment and it was formally placed in Administration on 14th December 2020.