Oil & gas development in the 1970s brought Shetland prosperity, job security and plentiful opportunities through the construction of SVT in the North Mainland along with broader offshore industry developments in the surrounding waters. The more recent construction of TotalEnergies' gas plant at Sullom Voe and ongoing development of oil and gas fields West of Shetland has continued to bring economic benefits.

But now is the time for change – and new opportunities.

Transformation

The current challenges around climate change mean there is a crucial shift towards clean energy production across the globe – and Shetland is ideally placed to aid in the transformation.

Policy makers and industry leaders alike have highlighted the need to decarbonise the energy sector away from fossil fuels to clean energy production.

Oil and gas – and the thousands of skilled jobs that rely on the industry – will continue to play a part in the energy mix until the middle of the century. A just transition will ensure the move from fossil fuels to clean alternatives does not result in significant unemployment and community erosion.

The Scottish Government formed a Just Transition Commission in 2018 with the aim of building a resilient net-zero economy and creating sustainable jobs.

That objective is shared by the ORION project which wants to attract investment and create hundreds of skilled jobs in the clean energy industries to maintain Shetland’s economy as fossil fuel usage declines

Utilising local knowledge

Shetland has a wealth of local knowledge in Oil & Gas, Engineering, and Marine Operations. These sectors and organisations will be given the chance to lead the transition that occurs in the isles as developments are underway.

A just transition for Shetland aims to include the oil and gas industry and its employees in the transition towards greener, cleaner energy. It will be necessary to aid in reskilling the current workforce in the oil and gas industry to avoid roles becoming obsolete and to provide opportunities to the young developing workforce. More detail can be found about the opportunities.

Clean energy hub

As a clean energy hub, Shetland will be home to wind, tidal and wave energy which will enable the production of hydrogen and hydrogen derived fuels – all of which require a significant and dynamic workforce.

Not only will ORION help fuel a clean future for Shetland, Scotland and further afield – it will also power economic prosperity in the isles for generations to come.

Marine industry and fishing sector

Shetland employment and revenue is highly dependent upon its fishing, aquaculture, and marine sector which can be directly impacted by renewable assets such as offshore wind and tidal energy production. Collaboration and communication are key for a just transition in the industry and across Shetland as development locations are allocated.

Marine transportation using clean fuels is a key area which is being reviewed by the ORION project and the University of Strathclyde, with input from SIC, Ricardo and Babcock, is spearheading a project to develop a marine strategy for Shetland. An ORION Marine Work Group has been established, with representatives from all of Shetland’s marine sectors, to work the issue of how to transition to clean marine fuels and develop the local infrastructure to support the changes which will be required.

More in this section

Fuel poverty
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Environment
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