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Wednesday, February 05, 2020

How many jobs?

Today's South Wales Evening Post contains a claim that developing the Oceana site in Swansea could bring 600 new jobs to the City.

I am reminded of the saga of the Baglan Energy Park. That was launched with a near guarantee of 6,000 new jobs. In the end the final figure barely pushed double figures.

Rhodri Morgan's autobiography is particularly revealing on this matter (on pages 163-164 in my edition). He relates how in 1997 Tony Blair's Government had a moratorium on new gas-fired power stations. The American multi-national behemoth GE had wanted to build their first ever H Series combined cycle gas turbine power station at Baglan, on a site vacated by BP.

He says that US President Bill Clinton received a phone call from 'Neutron' Jack Welch, the legendary boss of GE, asking for his help in getting around the moratorium. Clinton rang Tony Blair and asked for help in getting the gas powered station built, and it was.

Rhodri Morgan writes that electricity from the power station could be supplied over the fence directly, and without paying a grid charge, into energy intensive industries, which could all go in the empty Baglan Bay site (now renamed the Baglan Energy Park). That is why the 6,000 job estimate was made.

If Oceana does produce 600 new jobs then that will be very welcome. It will be fantastic for Swansea if the council is able to deliver on this claim. I hope I can be forgiven though, for waiting until they are in place before celebrating.
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