Green technologies secure jobs

26th November 2014

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Pete Griffith

Renewable energy and energy efficiency can create up to 10 times more jobs per unit of electricity generated or saved than fossil fuels, according to a study by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC).

The study found that electricity from coal and gas creates 0.1-0.2 gross jobs per gigawatt-hour generated. The equivalent numbers of jobs generated by solar electricity is 0.4–1.1, while wind creates 0.05-0.5 and energy efficiency produces 0.3-1.0.

Dr Will Blyth from Oxford Energy Associates, who led the two-year research project, said that in addition to creating job opportunities in the short term, directing investment towards renewables and energy-efficiency projects was key to achieving long-term policy objectives.

“When the economy is starting to recover, the key challenge for government policy is to encourage an economically efficient transition towards the country’s strategic goals, such as tackling climate change. Here there is a strong case for investment in renewable technologies and efficiency measures as part of the transformational change to a low-carbon energy system,” he said.

Meanwhile, new data from trade association RenewableUK reveals that the number of people working directly in the medium- to large-scale British onshore and offshore wind industry has risen by 8% in the past 12 months, with the sector now supporting 15,400 full-time jobs. The number of indirect jobs, supplying components for example, has also increased by 8% since September 2013. More than 30,400 people are now employed by the sector in the UK.

In a separate announcement, offshore wind company MHI Vestas says it will begin production next year at a site on the Isle of Wight of blades for its 8MW turbines, safeguarding or creating 800 jobs. In 2009, Vestas closed its manufacturing facility on the island, retaining only a research centre.


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