Renewables to generate major jobs boost

An array of solar panels. Photo: Luke McKernan.
An array of solar panels. Photo: Luke McKernan.

Expected investment of £64.4Bn in renewables by 2020 could create over 20,000 new energy jobs over the next three years alone, according to a report by the Renewable Energy Association (REA) in collaboration with Innovas and PwC.

 

‘REview – Renewable Energy View: 2014’ was formally launched by Energy Minister Greg Barker last night in the House of Commons.

 

REview finds that renewable electricity generation grew steadily between 2009 and 2013, increasing on average by 20.3% year on year. Renewable heat generation has also grown, increasing on average by 11.3% from 2009 to 2012 (the last full year for which data is available).

 

PwC head of renewable energy Ronan O’Regan said: “With recent historical investment dominated by renewable electricity, investment in renewable heat has been modest in comparison and this market requires a rapid scale up in investment levels if we are to achieve our overall 2020 renewable energy targets.”

 

The renewable energy industry has attracted almost £30Bn of private sector investment since 2010, sustaining 103,000 engineering jobs in 2013. Innovas said this was down 7,000 compared to 2011, mainly due to job losses in the small scale solar industry. REA expects however that recent growth in anaerobic digestion and large scale solar power, along with anticipated growth in renewable heating, will boost technical job numbers to between 110,000 and 124,000 in three years’ time.

 

Innovas director John Sharp said: “What is encouraging is that much of the growth is being felt in the UK regions outside of the South East, anchoring jobs in regions and rural areas where good quality long term employment prospects in the renewable energy sector are contributing to improvements in the economic, social and community wellbeing of these areas.”

 

REA chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska said: “This report highlights the close relationship between clear, stable policies and sustained growth and jobs in the renewable energy industry.”

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