Green energy jobs grow 7 times faster than national average

Employment in renewable energy increased by 9% across all sectors last year, with biomass heating emerging as the best-performing sector in terms of recruitment.

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has today (1 May) released its annual regional and national jobs analysis, revealing significant growth in the UK’s green energy labour market.

The total number working in the renewables industry has risen to more than 112,000, outstripping growth in market values in many other sectors.

Leading the pack

REA chief executive Nina Skorupska said: “We are delighted to see such significant jobs growth across all technologies and industries in the renewable energy sector. This reflects greater confidence not only in the renewables market, but also the wider economy as a whole. Our industry offers a wealth of unique and exciting career opportunities and plays an essential part in ensuring that the UK meets its renewable energy targets.”

London continues to be the leading area for renewable employment, with 21,034 people currently in post. This is followed by the South East England region (14,767), and the North West (10,693).

Wind power continues to lead the renewables pack when it comes to recruitment, with offshore and onshore wind employing more than 37,000 people last year – an increase on 6.5%. The highest performing sector this year was in biomass, with employment increased by an average of nearly a fifth (19%) across the UK.

Next government

Despite the figures confirming a significant boost in renewable energy employment over the past year, the REA warns that the industry must not become complacent, as the outcome of next week’s General Election and any potential consequences it may have on the renewable energy sector remains very uncertain.

Labour and the Lib Dems pledged to grow the number of green jobs in their manifestos, but the Conservatives made no such promises. 

“Whilst these new figures are extremely encouraging, it is of upmost importance that renewable energy remains a priority for the incoming government,” added Skorupska. “We look forward to working with the next government to ensure that even more is done to support our industry to ensure we can continue to create more skilled jobs and maintain the important growth seen over the last couple of years.”

Full details of the REA report will be launched in the second Annual REA Review Report next week, which will also cover deployment and investment figures and analysis.

Late last year, a seperate report from the UK Energy Research Centre discovered that investment in renewables and energy efficiency can create up to 10 times as many jobs per unit of electricity as investment in fossil fuels. 

Luke Nicholls

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