Engineer on top of a wind turbine

85% rise in renewable jobs predicated

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has reported that jobs in the UK’s renewables and clean technology industry could increase by 85 per cent within a decade, given the right support from the government.

Employment in the industry stood at 128,954 in 2017/18, with offshore wind being the largest single source of jobs, followed by biofuels and biomass power and heat.

But this figure could grow to 238,000 by 2030, said the REA, the UK’s largest trade association for renewable energy and clean technologies. Of this growth, 46,000 jobs are expected to be in the north of England, which is currently home to a number of carbon-intensive job clusters.

REA added that the forecast comes after a disappointing year for industry job growth, which saw an increase of just 1.5 per cent from 2017 figures amid a series of subsidy cuts in the Solar Photovoltaic (PV) industry. 

Despite some policy advances in the year following these figures, including legislation committing the UK to net zero targets by 2050 and the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, policy barriers still remain in place that prevent the industry from realising its full potential, said the report.

Growth in the renewable energy and clean technology sector will require more effective policies in the short and long term, insisted the REA.

It is calling for the UK government to set out a range of policy proposals as part of a comprehensive decarbonisation strategy ahead of the COP26 UN climate change conference – which has been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus crisis –  and to implement a more effective taxation system that promotes renewable energy, clean technologies and protects natural capital.

In total, the REA report sets out 55 policies which, if enacted by the government, would decarbonise heat, power and transport, and preserve natural capital.

REA chief executive Nina Skorupska said: “This report highlights the enormous opportunities the renewables and clean technology industry holds for the UK.

“With the government’s commitment to achieving net zero by 2050 we can see that there is political will, however, this needs to be backed up by policy for the renewable energy and clean technology sector.

“This report provides the government with that insight, and we are calling on them to deliver this urgently, ahead of COP26.”

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