By a Newsnet reporter
The strength of Scotland’s renewables sector and investment in Scotland’s wind and wave energy potential has been reaffirmed with the publication of a report by Scottish Renewables showing the sector supports the equivalent of 11,000 full-time jobs in Scotland.
The figures were collated before global renewables firm Gamesa’s announcement that they will create upwards of 800 new jobs at the Port of Leith as well as bringing €150 million of investment in the Scottish economy.
The news severely undermines claims by Tory leader David Cameron who at his party’s conference in Troon claimed uncertainty caused by the independence referendum was harming Scottish investment.
Welcoming the further evidence of the strength of Scotland’s renewables sector Edinburgh Central MSP Marco Biagi said they showed an industry in ascendency.
The SNP MSP claimed the investment coupled with the jobs totals underscored the strength of Scotland’s renewable energy sector and proved that Tory and other anti-independence scaremongering on renewables are completely discredited.
Mr Biagi said:
“This report is to be welcomed and demonstrates how Scotland’s renewable industry is bringing jobs and investment to communities across the nation.
“Given Scotland’s vast renewables resources, with a quarter of Europe’s tidal and offshore wind power and 10% of its wave power, as well as an excellent track record in the energy industries, this country is perfectly placed to benefit from the global shift to renewables.
“We are already seeing the benefit of renewables in Scotland with thousands of jobs, most recently Gamesa’s announcement of 800 jobs and €150 million of investment here in Edinburgh. That announcement came on top of a recent report showing that there has been a massive £750 million investment in Scotland’s renewables industry over the past year and a further £46 billion in the pipeline.
“This is good news for Scotland and an embarrassment for the Tories. These investments are bringing yet more jobs to Scotland and is another blow to the Tories’ Murdo Fraser who used the Tory Conference in Troon as a platform to try and claim renewable energy isn’t working. If it was up to the Conservatives none of these jobs would be coming to Scotland.”
The study ‘Delivering the Ambition: employment in renewable energy in Scotland’, which will be launched at the Scottish Renewables Annual Conference in Edinburgh today, is the first comprehensive assessment of full-time equivalent posts in Scotland to date.
Having surveyed more than 200 companies working across a variety of renewable technologies including wind, wave and tidal, bioenergy, solar and hydropower the results show 1,526 employees in renewable energy development , and a further 8,701 employed in the direct supply chain. In addition, there are 909 jobs in academia and the wider public sector.
Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said:
“The report shows that renewables are not only a major part of our energy mix, they are now a major part of our economy and our daily working day lives, supporting more than 11,000 jobs across Scotland.
“The report also highlights that for every job in renewable energy development, there are around six more in the direct supply chain.
“These numbers are actually just the tip of the iceberg, with many thousands more employees supported indirectly by the growth of the renewables sector which have not been captured by this study.”
Mr Stuart added: “Renewable energy development is bringing in much-needed investment to the wider economy, which is providing opportunities for businesses and people from a wide range of sectors; whether it be electricians, tradesmen, and skippers of work boats, or lawyers, consultants, civil engineers and architects.
“These jobs are spread throughout the country, in both urban and rural areas: Glasgow, Fife and Edinburgh are already established as important centres for offshore wind development; Aberdeen is a major centre for offshore engineering; the Highlands and Islands are leading the development of the emerging wave and tidal sector; and bioenergy is providing jobs across rural Scotland from Lochaber to Morayshire to Dumfries and Galloway.”
The report also states that with more than 20 gigawatts (GW) of projects in development in Scotland, the sector has the potential to grow quickly over coming years, creating even more opportunities for employment across the country, and making a major contribution to tackling youth unemployment.