Record numbers of people are working in the renewable energy sector in Scotland and more than half of employers intend to hire more staff this year, according to a report from industry group Scottish Renewables.
The research says a record number of people now work in the sector in Scotland, a total of 11,700 which is a 5% rise on the previous year. The research was carried out by management consultants O’Herlihy & Co who contacted 540 companies in what is claimed to be the most comprehensive survey of the industry to date.
The survey found that 54% of companies intended to hire more full time staff this year, 42% said they would maintain employment numbers and only 1.6% expecting to reduce numbers. Jobs were concentrated in Glasgow, Lothians, Highlands & Islands and the north east. The main sources of employment were onshore wind, 39%, offshore wind, 21%, marine 9% and bioenergy 9%.
Joss Blamire, Senior Policy Manager for Scottish Renewables, said: “These latest figures show the renewables industry has seen steady growth in the number of people being employed despite an uncertain year. The breadth of job opportunities for project managers, ecologists and engineers has led to a wide range of people seeing renewable energy as a sector where they can use their skills and training.”
Mr Blamire added that there was a ‘huge amount of positivity about the future’ revealed by the survey. He warned against complacency as market reforms in the electricity sector, planning issues and connecting projects to the grid were all potential growth barriers.
Figures released in December showed that almost two thirds of Scotland’s electricity is generated by low carbon sources – renewables and nuclear - a rise from 60% a year previously and more than either coal or gas. The Scottish government plans to have 50% of the country’s electricity generated by renewables by 2015.
Photo: Robin Fernandes