Workshops to focus on 'just transition' in the north-east

The first in a series of workshops that aim to maximise the benefits of the energy transition for communities in the north-east of Scotland will take place on Thursday, 27 May.

The online event, hosted by the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Energy Transition (CET), will bring together people from industry, civic society, and academia to discuss how communities might best navigate the opportunities – and challenges – presented by the move to a low carbon economy.

Central to the discussion is the concept of the ‘just transition’ – ensuring that communities can maximise the benefits of the energy transition in a fair and sustainable way.

Among the speakers are Professor Jim Skea, Chair of the Scottish Government’s Just Transition Commission, Benoit Luc, Vice President, Total Professeurs Associés and Tara Murray, Sustainability and Climate Change Officer at Aberdeenshire Council.

The event is one of three that will be delivered over the coming months by the CET, which will have its official launch at the end of May.

The workshops are part of a £19,000 project funded by the Scottish Universities Insight Institute entitled Leading from the Front: Increasing community participation in a Just Transition to Net Zero.

It aims to create a platform where community climate groups, social enterprises and civic society can influence the direction of the energy transition.  The ultimate goal is to develop a ‘toolkit’ for community decision-making – for example on local planning decisions related to net zero and energy transition, where communities might be able to seek benefits in terms of improving local investment, community wealth generation and job opportunities.

Tavis Potts, who heads the CET, said: “The energy transition creates huge opportunities for communities in the north east of Scotland, as well as challenges.

“As an area synonymous with the energy industry, the move to net zero will be felt most keenly in local communities in terms of changing patterns of employment requiring new skills, and new development linked to the green economy.

“This presents huge opportunities for the north-east, including the potential to be a world leader in navigating the energy transition in a way that maximises the benefits for communities.

“Ensuring buy-in from all sectors of society is essential if we are to realistically meet the goal of net zero, but to do that we have to involve everyone at an early stage to work out the best way of moving forward.

“That is what these workshops will aim to achieve, with the ultimate aim of developing a toolkit to empower local communities and stakeholders in maximising the benefits of the energy transition in the north-east.”