Renewables sector supports 11,000 Scottish jobs, finds report

Wind farm construction (Credit: SSE)

The renewable energy industry could support more than 11,000 jobs in Scotland, according to a major study by Scottish Renewables.

The study, Delivering the Ambition: employment in renewable energy in Scotland, surveyed over 200 companies working across all renewable energy sectors including wind, wave and tidal, bioenergy, solar and hydropower.

Presented at the Scottish Renewables Annual Conference in Edinburgh this week, the report finds that over 1500 employees currently work in renewable energy development and a further 8700 in the supply chain. Just over 900 are also employed in academia and the public sector.

“The report shows that renewables are not only a major part of our energy mix, they are now a major part of our economy and our daily working day lives,” says chief executive of Scottish Renewables, Niall Stuart. “The report also highlights that for every job in renewable energy development, there are around six more in the direct supply chain.”

Glasgow, Fife and Edinburgh have established themselves as centres of offshore wind development, and Aberdeen has long been recognised as a centre for offshore engineering thanks to the oil and gas industry.

Meanwhile, the emerging wave and tidal sector is centred around the Highlands and Islands and bioenergy is now supporting rural jobs from Lochaber to Morayshire to Dumfries and Galloway.

But Stuart says the figures are the tip of the iceberg, with thousands more jobs supported indirectly by the renewable energy sector across the whole region.

And with 20 GW of renewable energy projects in development, the sector has the potential to grow quickly over the coming years creating more jobs in the region.

“A clear pattern emerges from speaking to employers that these numbers are expected to grow over the year ahead and beyond, as this relatively new industry continues to expand. Gamesa’s decision last week to come to Leith reinforces the scale of the opportunity,” says Stuart.

But he called on Scottish authorities to ensure that the right political support, market framework, balance in the planning system, and investment in grid and ports and harbour infrastructure continues to support the sector.

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Related stories:
Gamesa to invest €150 million in Scottish offshore wind turbine facility (26-Mar)
Scotland fills renewables funding gap with £103 million investment (23-Mar)
Scotland welcomes £1 billion renewables investment (9-Mar)
Samsung chooses Scotland for £100 million turbine venture (1-Feb)

30 March 2012