Number of Scots working in renewable energy on the rise

The numbers employed in the renewables sector in Scotland is on the rise. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL
The numbers employed in the renewables sector in Scotland is on the rise. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL
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The number of workers in Scotland employed in the low carbon and renewables sector has risen to 58,500 in 2015 - up from 43,500 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 found.

The report found 48 per cent of all UK employment, and 53 per cent of all UK turnover, in onshore wind was north of the border.

In low carbon electrivity generation, Scotland represented 33 per cent of all UK employment, and 28% of turnover.

For low carbon services, it represented 24 per cent of all UK employment, and 26 per cent of turnover.

While welcoming the growth, the Scottish Government warned such advances could be reversed if the UK Government opts to lessen financial incentives for renewable energies.

But the UK Government said £820m was spent last year alone supporting the renewables sector north of the border.

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“These figures 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,” said minister for business, Paul Wheelhouse.

“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.”

A UK Government spokesman said: “Last year over £820m was spent on support for renewable energy in Scotland, where the industry is a great success story thanks our support.

“Through our ambitious Industrial Strategy and the launch this week of the latest £290 million support scheme for new renewable projects across Britain, we’re committed to building on our strengths and taking advantage of the jobs and growth the low carbon economy provides.”

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