Scots working in low carbon and renewables up by more than a third

RenewablesThe number of workers in Scotland employed in the low carbon and ‎renewables sector has risen to 58,500 in 2015 – up from an indicative 43,500 employed in 2014.

The low carbon and renewables sector generated a turnover of £10.5 billion, 14 per cent of the total UK sector, the Office of National Statistics numbers show.

Scotland now represents 48% of all UK employment, and 53% of all UK turnover, in onshore wind, while 33% of all UK employment, and 28% of turnover, in low carbon electricity generation, is in Scotland

For low carbon services, Scotland represents 24% of all UK employment, and 26% of turnover.

Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, said: “These are impressive figures that show how the Scottish Government’s focus on decarbonising ‎our energy system has not only allowed us to meet our climate change obligations, and to have done so early, but it has also significantly boosted the Scottish economy.

“They show how large the sector was in 2015 and, with 58,500 employees and a turnover of £10.5 billion‎, the huge opportunity that green energy presents in generating the kind of sustainable growth from which all Scotland benefits.

“It is also telling that these statistics show a sector in rude health, and playing a growing role in our economy, just as the UK government removed a number of key support mechanisms that have encouraged substantial growth. Today, the sector remains beset by the uncertainty brought about by short-sighted and harmful decisions by UK Ministers and indecision around support in areas such as marine energy, islands wind projects, pumped hydro storage and islands grid connections, which risks investors moving outside the UK.

“While I celebrate the success these figures indicate for Scotland, I am under no illusions whatsoever as to what the wider effect of damaging UK government decisions, and indecision, may be having on the sector in Scotland and the UK over the longer term and these figures demonstrate the scale of progress that continued, sub-optimal UK policies will put at risk.”

Welcoming the statistics, Lindsay Roberts, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “These new figures once again clearly show the important economic impact of Scotland’s renewable energy sector.

“Technologies like wind, hydro, renewable heat and solar are delivering significant levels of employment and investment across the country and it’s crucial that renewed ambitions for the sector, set out in Scotland’s draft Energy Strategy, are complemented by the right support from government, both at Westminster and in Edinburgh.”

WWF Scotland director, Lang Banks, added: “It’s fantastic to see the number of renewable and low-carbon jobs continuing to rise in Scotland. This growth in green jobs has mainly been driven by stretching government targets followed up by enabling policies and other support. If Scotland is to secure all the benefits that a zero-carbon society would bring, it’s vital Scottish ministers continue to put in place the policies and support mechanisms needed as well as giving businesses the signals they need to commit to investment and skills training.

“These figures also underline the importance of onshore wind to Scotland, both in terms of our economy and in creating jobs. It’s therefore disappointing that the UK government has ended its support for onshore wind, especially if that results in these jobs figures going down in future. Undermining onshore wind in Scotland will make it far more expensive for the entire UK to meet its climate change obligations.”

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