RenewableUK Reveals Major Employment Increase in Wind Sector

The number of people working in the medium and large-scale sectors of the British onshore wind industry, and offshore wind, has risen by 8% in just over twelve months to more than 15,400 direct, full-time jobs, according to the trade association RenewableUK. This means the number of people directly employed in these key parts of the renewable energy sector has increased by more than 6,300 in four years, rising from 9,100 in 2010.

The new figures, revealed in RenewableUK’s annual report “Wind Energy in the UK”, also show that the number of indirect jobs (for example supplying components) has increased by 8% since September 2013 to nearly 15,000 jobs. This means that more than 30,400 people owe their livelihoods to wind in the UK, mainly in STEM careers (based on qualifications in science, technology, engineering and maths). More than 2,250 direct and indirect jobs in onshore and offshore wind have been created in just over 12 months.

To coincide with the new report, the Energy Secretary Edward Davey is helping RenewableUK launch a new campaign, “Faces of Wind Energy”, at its annual conference in Manchester. The multimedia initiative tells the individual stories of people working in the British wind industry. In their own words, they explain how they’re playing their part in in Britain’s green-collar clean energy revolution, from Barrow to Chepstow and from Glasgow to Grimsby. As part of the initiative, RenewableUK is launching a new online career map explaining different roles in industry, including the qualifications and experience required.

RenewableUK’s annual study shows that new onshore wind farms delivered £1.6 billion of investment in 12 months. Total offshore wind investment reached £1 billion. The report also reveals that since the localisation of business rates for new onshore projects in April 2013, English onshore wind farms now contribute £5.9 million a year to local council coffers, which is £149 million over their lifespan.

The Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey, who is speaking at today’s conference, is launching a new publication, the Offshore Wind Pitch Book, which explains to investors the opportunities available in the UK’s world-leading offshore wind sector. He will also welcome the Chinn Report, led by Siemens energy businesses in UK, which focuses on how to maximise the burgeoning UK offshore wind supply chain, which will help to drive down offshore wind costs as well as creating British jobs.

Mr Davey said: “The energy sector is powering Britain’s economic recovery – and the jobs created in the wind industry show why Britain’s the global number one for offshore wind capacity and investment.

“Our historic electricity reforms allow us to build on that success, supporting a diverse energy mix that promotes renewables alongside other low-carbon technologies to make sure that we’re keeping the lights on with secure, clean, home-grown electricity.”

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, Maria McCaffery, said: “Nearly two and a half thousand people have joined the UK wind industry’s dynamic, highly motivated workforce over the last year. That’s a growth rate that most other sectors can only dream of – renewables is the employment engine of the future. The inspiring videos and photographs of the Faces of Wind Energy campaign, with backstories about individual workers’ personal commitments to tackling climate change, show the absolute determination of our workforce to clean up the way we generate electricity, to keep Britain’s lights on at the lowest possible cost.

“However, we still face numerous challenges. The growth of the most cost-effective of all renewable technologies, onshore wind, is threatened with extinction by the Conservatives misguided policy of ending all future support for it. The Tories are way out of step with the two-thirds majority of the public which consistently supports onshore wind. Politicians need to get behind the many thousands of people doing their bit to make onshore and offshore renewables a UK success story. Instead of standing in the way they should let the new faces of wind energy do their job for the sake of the nation.”

RenewableUK’s “Working for a Green Britain” report, published in September 2013, shows that, if Government policy is supportive, more than 81,000 people could be working in the wind energy sector in direct and indirect jobs by 2023.

Supply chain companies for onshore and offshore wind around the UK are benefitting, such as crane design and construction company Granada Material Handling Ltd based in Manchester, whose Director Mark Sidwell said: “For the North West, renewables has been life changing for the business community. We’ve won multimillion pound contracts with the likes of RWE Innogy and SSE Renewables, creating 20 jobs in offshore servicing and supporting a further 15 in manufacturing. With a strong pipeline of work both in the UK and European waters, we’re not the only ones benefiting. The future looks bright and promising for us and lots of similar companies in the area.”  

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Press release; Image: REpower (Illustration)

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