When the Aberdeen City Region Deal was signed back in 2016, it was landmark moment.
A partnership between Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, the UK Government, the Scottish Government and private sector organisation Opportunity North East (ONE), the Deal’s 10-year programme is potentially worth in excess of £800 million.
To date we have seen investment in the Oil and Gas Technology Centre, the Bio-therapeutic Hub and Fibre connectivity. As we enter 2020, momentum is increasing.
January saw the launch (below) of plans for a £21m food and drink development hub, earmarked for Scotland’s Rural College’s campus on the edge of the city. The hub would provide the tools to help start-ups and established companies identify new markets, drive growth and adopt leading edge production technologies.
ONE has just announced plans to work with regional and industry partners, including Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeen Harbour Board, to create an Energy Transition Zone in Aberdeen.
The goal is to help deliver UK and Scottish zero emission targets whilst securing a strong economic future locally, built on offshore wind, hydrogen, carbon capture usage and storage, alongside oil and gas.
The region aims to be at the forefront of research, manufacturing, technology and operations, leveraging Aberdeen Harbour Board’s £350m expansion to create a unique development environment for renewables.
There is of course scope for the rapid transfer of North Sea experience, assets and skills to accelerate the delivery of low carbon solutions as well as greener oil and gas production.
People say Aberdeen owes it success to oil and gas. We might argue that the sector owes much to Aberdeen – to our vision and ingenuity, to our restless drive and surpassing talent, characteristics which have allowed us to prosper through the centuries across very different industries.
As we transition to net zero, those same qualities will ensure that the Aberdeen City Region continues to lead and inspire. We as a Council, for example, have agreed to develop a place-based Net Zero Transition Plan and a prioritised Strategic Infrastructure Plan.
When institutions and business work together, we stand a much better chance of realising joint economic, environmental and social goals.
Just as importantly, the Council continues to work with community planning partners to ensure Aberdeen remains a place where all people can prosper, regardless of their background or circumstances.
Through the mechanism of the Local Outcome Improvement Plan, we are determined to share the benefits and improve lives as we continue to grow on the global stage.