A new report, released by RenewableUK, and an update to its original 2010 report on employment in the UK’s wind and marine power sector, has found that the number of people working in the sector has increased by 74% over the past three years to over 34,000. The report explains how this increased employment is benefitting the entire UK economy.
The study shows that the wind and marine power sector directly employs nearly 18,500 people, more than three times as many as the 5,005 working in the country’s coal industry. Roughly another 16,000 people then work in jobs indirectly supported by the sector, such as component suppliers, and service companies.
Offshore wind is the largest sector according to the report, and was responsible for the largest amount of growth, with the industry more than doubling its number of employees, from a little over 3,000 to more than 6,800 since 2010.
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Importantly, the report identified that 91% of the positions in the wind and marine power sector are held by UK citizens, contrary to the arguments that expanding the UK renewable energy industry is not directly benefitting the UK. The majority of jobs are offered by SMEs (small and medium enterprises) that employ less than 250 people.
Maria McCaffery, the chief executive officer of RenewableUK, said that the industry could well employ more than 70,000 people by the end of the next decade, with more than half of those jobs in the offshore wind sector.
She said that “the offshore wind sector alone could be employing nearly 45,000 workers in the 2020s. As an industry we are truly creating jobs out of fresh air.”
But the future security of the industry relies on the government offering some form of long term certainty to investors in the form 2030 renewable energy targets.
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“Certainty on future levels of deployment of wind, wave and tidal energy over the next decade will enable firms to invest in the right people and the right skills, and ensure we maximise the number of green collar jobs we create as we transform our electricity system.
We want to ensure offshore wind is given the same opportunity to prosper as the North Sea oil and gas industries had in their heyday.”