It’s confirmed. The co-leaders of the Scottish Greens, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, have become junior ministers in Nicola Sturgeon’s government. Harvie is Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, while Slater is Minister for Green skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity.
Of the two, Slater’s is the more interesting role as it includes green industrial strategy, an area where Scotland has continued to fail under the SNP. If Slater is serious about turning this around then she should make her first ministerial outing a trip to the north-east of England to see how green industrial strategy should be done.
From the Tyne to the Humber, developments in renewables and electrification are coming thick and fast on England’s north-east coast. In July, start-up company Britishvolt secured planning permission to build the UK’s first ‘gigafactory’ car battery plant on the site of the former Blyth power station, north of Newcastle. The multi-billion-pound development will create one of the world’s biggest factories. The plant aims to be operational by 2023, with Britishvolt hoping to be producing enough lithium-ion batteries for 300,000 electric cars by 2027. Building work is scheduled to start in October, and once up and running it should deliver 3,000 direct jobs and 5,000 in the wider supply chain.
Last month meanwhile it was announced that the Siemens Gamesa wind turbine factory in Hull will double in size following an investment of £186 million, securing new jobs manufacturing the next generation of offshore wind turbines and blades longer than 100 meters. The factory supplies blades to the Hornsea Two windfarm off the Yorkshire coast, which will be the world’s largest offshore wind power plant when completed in 2022.
Also this summer, in June, US sustainable tech company Turntide Technologies, which is backed by Bill Gates, acquired