Renewable jobs

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I have read with interest correspondence within your letters section recently, where readers are looking for confirmation of how the renewable sector is providing real jobs within the Scottish economy.

I am surprised by these enquiries, because there is a great deal of evidence available if they are concerned enough to look. However, to save them some time I thought a short description of a real Scottish company might help them put their minds at rest.

I am a director of Natural Power, headquartered in Dumfries and Galloway in an eco grass-roofed office complex overlooking the Rhins of Kells. We are a consultancy, only working in the renewable energy sector. We started up in 1997 and by 2000 had reached seven in number.

Since then we have grown consistently and now number 285 full-time employees. This year the budgeted growth is to exceed 300 and reach 320 people. In this time we have used skills and products learned and demonstrated in Scotland to expand into foreign markets with offices in France (two), USA, Sweden and Ireland.

In addition, we have agencies selling Scottish-based products and services in Turkey and Chile. The company is headquartered in Scotland with two main offices: one is the extension of the original eco office in Dumfries and Galloway, housing up to 120 people (currently 85), the second is in Stirling, housing up to 145 (currently 96). Both of these are expected to be full by the middle of 2016. We also have a number of smaller offices in Inverness, Hexham, London and Aberystwyth servicing the GB market and beyond. The company works on onshore wind, offshore wind, biomass, photovoltaic, wave and tidal.

The Scottish Government’s consistent support for the renewable sector recognises a fundamental truth, that Scotland is blessed with a great renewable resource, and recognises that this is a source of wealth, sustainable employment and security of supply for the long term.

This is why the government’s message has been widely recognised by international investment in our sector, accumulating along the way more than 11,000 jobs and billions of dollars, pounds and euros into our economy, helping growth and stability, even in recession.

We will keep investing and growing, as will other companies we have seen grow with us over the years.

We are not unique. I would urge those who have not realised the significance of this sector’s current and potential future contribution to take a closer look with impartial eyes, as there are many companies like ours looking to support this country and government in the years ahead, to deliver investment, jobs and energy security.

Jeremy Sainsbury FRICS OBE

Natural Power Consultants

Castle Douglas

We agree with Malcolm Parkin (Letters, 20 February) challenging Joss Blamire to provide evidence in relation to the number of jobs created in Scotland by the renewables industry.

However, we would go further than that and ask that the UK Government establishes an independent energy commission, free from the influence of vested interests, to examine the many disputed facts claimed by these same vested interests justifying the current energy strategy.

Apart from the levels of jobs created (net of those lost as a consequence of this strategy) and investment achieved (in this country as opposed to overseas), the issue we really must now have addressed is the relative effectiveness of onshore wind electricity generation in reducing global CO2 emissions.

John Milne

Scottish Wild Land Group

Ardgowan Drive

Uddingston

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