Renewable energy jobs forecast
Up to 35,000 jobs could be sustained across the UK in the renewable energy industry by 2020, according to a new report. A quarter of these will be in Scotland.
The Renewables Supply Chain Gap Analysis was produced by groups including government and industry.
The study looked at the opportunities to develop a viable, long-term renewable energy industry, and predicts that between 17,000 and 35,000 jobs could be sustained by 2020.
Around 8,000 jobs are currently sustained by the industry across the UK, with Scotland having 1940 of these. The study found that, on average, 10 full-time jobs can be sustained per new Megawatt of renewable energy produced.
The report highlights employment opportunities in manufacturing, the service sector, technology research, and in the agricultural and forestry industries.
Deputy Enterprise Minister Lewis Macdonald said, “Renewable energy is not just about protecting the environment – as important as this is – it can also create jobs, not least in some of Scotland’s remotest communities, and build on our existing strengths, as in the experience and expertise of our offshore oil and gas industry.
“We also have the chance to be a world leader in renewable technology, with the many opportunities this will bring. For example, we have already invested £2 million in the Orkney marine wave test centre. These jobs will not just happen regardless – they are there for us to win. Scotland must fully embrace renewable energy if it is to enjoy the immense economic benefits it can bring.”
UK Energy Minister Stephen Timms also welcomed the report, saying, “We believe that the report will provide us all – industry and the public sector alike – with the information about what steps must be taken for the UK to become a major player in renewable energy technology and manufacture supply.”
The Executive has set targets of producing 40 per cent of all Scotland’s electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020.
The Forum for Renewable Energy Development in Scotland (FREDS) has been established by the Executive to consider how best to exploit Scotland’s renewable energy potential. The Forum, which the Deputy Enterprise Minister chairs, will meet again this Monday.
The report was commissioned by the Renewables Advisory Board (RAB), and led by a steering group comprising the Scottish Executive, RAB, DTI’s Renewables UK, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
The renewable energy technologies reviewed included: wind (onshore and offshore), wave, tidal, hydro, biomass, biofuels, waste to energy, landfill, solar thermal, photovoltaics, fuel cells, geothermal, hydrogen and energy storage. The study identifies the services, research, design and manufacturing capability associated with all these technologies.
559 companies currently active in the industry responded to a questionnaire sent to understand their activities, skills, needs, plans and perceived barriers.
The report considered the nature of the current market and potential size and structure of future markets, identifying gaps in existing supply chains, opportunities for the UK and constraints.
The figure “Ten full-time jobs can be sustained per new Megawatt of renewable energy produced” is based on the jobs required during each phase of the project e.g. development, construction, operation.