The transition from oil and gas to renewable energy provides the north-east with “enormous opportunity” to use its expertise to grow businesses and jobs.
This was the view of Scottish Council for Development (SCDI) chief executive Sara Thiam who was visiting the Granite City for the World Energy Council summit.
Talking about the transition from oil and gas to renewable energy she said it was clear there was “real economic opportunities”.
Radical shift for energy companies
She said: “Clearly the most important thing for Aberdeen and the north-east is energy transition.
“We are seeing the oil and gas companies really making a radical shift and getting involved in hydrogen and offshore wind so I think there are real economic opportunities in the north-east.
“It’s about keeping our eye on the prize and keeping going.”
SCDI chief executive Sara Thiam
“Given the skills and expertise that we have in the north-east, there is an enormous opportunity ahead.”
Earlier this week the city played host to a global event on behalf of the World Energy Council.
The Energy Trilemma Summit and 2022 Executive Assembly brought together energy sector leaders from nearly 100 countries to the two-day event at the P&J Live.
She said: “I’ve been at the World Energy Council and what’s striking is yes we’ve got to deal with what’s immediately in front of us with regards energy security issues and energy supply issues but we can’t take our eye off the main prize of energy transition.
“It’s about keeping our eye on the prize and keeping going.
“The diversification we are seeing in the energy industry is fantastic.
“It does need to happen quickly but it can’t happen overnight. The clue is in the name, energy transition, and clearly, this is a region that is heavily dependent.
“But the whole country is very dependent on what we have in the north-east of Scotland.
“We are going to need oil and gas for a considerable amount of time. We can’t just turn off the tap overnight.
“We have to keep exploring these new technologies and diversifying.”
‘Lifelong earning, upskilling and reskilling’
SCDI, founded in 1931, is an independent membership network, representing a cross-section of the private, public and social economy sectors.
Its stated aim is to “engage Scotland and influence government and key stakeholders to ensure sustainable inclusive economic growth and flourishing communities.”
The organisation is well known for its events across the north and north-east, although its business awards event that was due to take place in Inverness last month had to be postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Ms Thiam said: “Our role above all is to convene and to bring together all the different players in the economy.
“We can really help by bringing people together and providing inspiration.
“Whilst businesses are hugely important to that process and lead much of that, I think what’s really great about the north-east is there’s a recognition in order for businesses to succeed at what they do they need a strong public sector, good services, a strong further and higher education sector.
“I think there’s an understanding of the interconnected nature of the economy and that each and everyone of us has a part to play.
“We really need significant innovation change to be ready for the future and think differently about what higher and further education looks like.
“It’s all about lifelong learning and upskilling and reskilling.
Aberdeen oil and gas ‘phenomenal’
“Making sure that support is in place for our workers because it’s becoming very clear that the energy workers of the future may well spend a period of time in oil and gas but they may also spend time in hydrogen, offshore wind, electric or carbon capture and storage.
“Our mission is to ensure Scotland continues to play a role in the economy and be the best it can be as a small country on the edge of Europe but we have real strengths and must build on them.
“Look at what Aberdeen has done around oil and gas it has been phenomenal. You’ve got a whole supply chain.
“Aberdeen has been incredibly canny at leveraging that oil and gas expertise to actually have a whole load of other business on the back of that.
“You’ve got something really special happening in the north-east I think and a real opportunity.
“There’s phenomenal energy in Aberdeen.”