Landmark jobs study shows true impact of renewable energy in Scotland

Posted on 27 March 2012

A major report by Scottish Renewables has revealed more than 11,000 jobs in the renewable energy industry in Scotland.

The study ‘Delivering the Ambition: employment in renewable energy in Scotland’, which will be launched at the Scottish Renewables Annual Conference in Edinburgh (27 March), is the first comprehensive assessment of full-time equivalent posts in Scotland to date.

Having surveyed more than 200 companies working across a variety of renewable technologies including wind, wave and tidal, bioenergy, solar and hydropower the results show 1,526 employees in renewable energy development (this includes utilities, project and technology developers), and a further 8,701 employed in the direct supply chain.  In addition, there are 909 jobs in academia and the wider public sector.

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said:

“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, supporting more than 11,000 jobs across Scotland.

“The report also highlights that for every job in renewable energy development, there are around six more in the direct supply chain.

“These numbers are actually just the tip of the iceberg, with many thousands more employees supported indirectly by the growth of the renewables sector which have not been captured by this study.”

Mr Stuart added: “Renewable energy development is bringing in much-needed investment to the wider economy, which is providing opportunities for businesses and people from a wide range of sectors; whether it be electricians, tradesmen, and skippers of work boats, or lawyers, consultants, civil engineers and architects.

“These jobs are spread throughout the country, in both urban and rural areas:  Glasgow, Fife and Edinburgh are already established as important centres for offshore wind development; Aberdeen is a major centre for offshore engineering; the Highlands and Islands are leading the development of the emerging wave and tidal sector; and bioenergy is providing jobs across rural Scotland from Lochaber to Morayshire to Dumfries and Galloway.”

The report also states that with more than 20 gigawatts (GW) of projects in development in Scotland, the sector has the potential to grow quickly over coming years, creating even more opportunities for employment across the country, and making a major contribution to tackling youth unemployment.

Mr Stuart stressed: “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.

“As a growth sector, it also offers new opportunities for the existing workforce and business base in parts of the economy which have been hit by the downturn.”

However, Mr Stuart warned that none of this can be taken for granted with political support for the industry key to its continued success:

“With continued political support, the right market framework, the right balance in the planning system, and investment in grid and ports and harbour infrastructure, we will ensure the creation of many thousands more jobs in this exciting new sector.”