UK must do more to secure wind energy jobs

The UK is punching well below its weight when it comes to offshore wind, risking missing legally-binding targets and the opportunity to secure tens of thousands of jobs.

This is the conclusion of a new paper published today by think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research.

The paper says rapid expansion of the sector is needed to meet EC targets of 15% the UK’s energy to come from renewable energy by 2020.

It also says that more government support is needed to make the UK a global hub for offshore wind energy, with the potential to create up to 70,000 jobs in parts of the country where they are most needed.

It claims that only 700 people are currently employed in this sector and only one factory in the UK has been set up to make parts for turbines.

Matthew Lockwood, Senior Research Fellow for ippr, said: “Offshore wind has great potential for UK jobs but we risk being blown off course.

“The government’s pledge to achieve ambitious renewable energy targets by 2020 shows it is serious about its potential but we need to follow through with concrete policies to create greater certainty for industry, maximise the potential for the UK economy and realise our environmental goals.”

The report also points to government backing for wind energy industry in Denmark, Spain and Germany saying that initiatives there have successfully provided stimulus for the sector.

The British Wind Energy association (BWEA) has said this is the latest in a long line of reports to show that, despite having the best wind resources in Europe, the UK is failing to cash in on a potential boom area.

Dr Gordon Edge, BWEA director of Economics and Markets, said: “A host of independent studies has shown that the wind sector in the UK can be a motor for economic growth.

“Wind can provide clean, sustainable energy, while attracting investment and creating employment. It is a win-win situation, which, with the right policy framework in place, can benefit the country as a whole.”

The report can be found on the ippr website.

Sam Bond

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