Record numbers employed in Scotland’s renewables sector

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Record numbers of people are now employed in Scotland’s renewable energy sector, according to a report commissioned by Scottish Renewables.

The report, compiled by independent researchers who surveyed more than 540 companies, found that 11,695 people are currently in full-time employment, an increase of five per cent from the previous year’s study.

In a statement 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.’

The survey also asked where these jobs were located with Glasgow, the Lothians, Highlands & Islands and the North East topping the list of regions employing the most people, and onshore wind (39 per cent), offshore wind (21 per cent), marine and bioenergy (both nine per cent) the most notable sources of employment.

Blamire said: ‘Renewables is proving it can be a significant contributor to many local economies throughout the country with emerging sectors such as offshore wind and marine energy already playing their part in creating much needed job opportunities.’

Of those companies surveyed 54 per cent said they would be looking to employ more people in the next 12 months with a further 42 per cent saying their employment would stay compared to 1.6 per cent expecting it to decrease.

Blamire cautioned, however, that the industry could not afford to become complacent over these new figures. 

’The survey also found that market reforms in the electricity sector, planning issues and connecting projects to the grid were all cited as potential barriers that could get in the way of future growth. We cannot become complacent over these positive job numbers when such considerable threats are on the horizon.’

‘If we are to secure the triple win of cutting emissions, creating jobs and reducing costs we need to see clear, long term horizons to give confidence and stability,’ said Sam Gardner, head of policy at WWF Scotland. ‘This means Scottish and UK ministers must work to secure a strong EU 2030 energy package that sets a clear target of growth in renewable power.’