BiFab's plight shows Scotland is failing to create a serious renewable energy industry – Brian Wilson

BiFab has become a by-word for failure to turn Scottish renewable energy into jobs and work for the Scottish economy.

BiFab yard in Methil
BiFab yard in Methil

Appalling though the record is, the future should concern us more. There is no evidence of progress to ensure much different outcomes from tens of billions to be spent on offshore wind over the next decade.

I met the Canadians when they took over BiFab and had no doubt about their good intentions based on Scottish government promises. But they were dealing with people who needed someone to get them off a hook, without commitment to follow-through.

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If the Scottish government claims to have had no leverage over the work required to keep BiFab alive, it is either dishonest or hopelessly incompetent. And the "EU procurement rules" gramophone record has been played too often. It's not true.

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Remember the work which did not come to BiFab was crumbs from the table, welcome though they would have been. Is this the height of Scotland's aspiration? is there no plan about how to compete for work from 17 massive Scottish projects in the offing?

The BiFab yards – Burntisland, Methil and Arnish – have been under control of Scottish government agencies for over a decade. None could be described as state of the art; part of the reason developers can say: "Thanks, but no thanks. We'll just go to China.”

If a "Team Scotland" approach was taken to tell the world about Scotland’s offer, what would it add up to? At a time when jobs will be so badly needed, this is not a story to spin away. It’s a failure of leadership that must be resolved.

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