UK's clean energy pipeline on course to unlock 625,000 green jobs

The UK's focus on decarbonisation and clean energy looks set to unlock 625,000 jobs, equivalent to 90% of jobs lost to the coronavirus pandemic, according to new research.

Around 135,000 jobs would be created in the North, Midlands and East England, with a further 57,000 jobs set to be created in Scotland

Around 135,000 jobs would be created in the North, Midlands and East England, with a further 57,000 jobs set to be created in Scotland

The European Climate Foundation commissioned research from Ernst & Young (EY) into the global pipeline for renewable projects. The new research, published today (7 July), found that 13,000 clean energy projects look set to be built globally, amounting to more than $2trn in investment opportunities. The projects loos set to create one Terawatt of additional renewable generation capacity.

The research, which examines projects across 47 countries, notes that up to 10 million jobs could be created through these projects.

EY’s global energy advisor Serge Colle said: “This new report highlights the huge potential to accelerate private sector renewables investment through applying the best government policies and regulatory frameworks through global collaboration between governments and the private sector.

“This multi-country report, that has taken a bottom-up approach, maps the pipeline of ‘shovel ready’ investable projects that could be unlocked to enable a green recovery.”

In the UK, the current pipeline includes 540 clean energy projects, which rises to 668 when storage, transmission, and distribution projects are added. According to the research, the clean energy projects will support 438,667 jobs, but could also rise to 625,000 when other projects are accounted for. EY notes that the latter figure represents 90% of the jobs lost as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Around 135,000 jobs would be created in the North, Midlands and East England, with a further 57,000 jobs set to be created in Scotland. The research also adds that 82% of the projects are in the “permitting stage” and wouldn’t require additional financing.

The report arrives in the same week that research from thinktank Onward found that new jobs created to help drive the UK's transition to net-zero could pay 18% more than the national average salary - and 30% more than the average salary offered by companies in high-emitting sectors.

The UK’s current overarching green jobs target is growing low-carbon and nature sectors to cover two million full-time-equivalent roles by 2030. But it is not on track to meet that aim.

Additionally, the Office For National Statistics (ONS) recently published research finding that more than 800,000 job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the UK could be replaced by new green jobs, provided government and private investment is mobilised correctly.

The EY research also found that the £500m in public finance spent on clean energy projects in the UK over the last five years has generated £50bn in private investment.

Matt Mace



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