Wind energy to create 80,000 jobs by 2020

Trade body RenewableUK yesterday launched its UK Wind Energy Charter, outlining three principles to ensure the security of the industry and its economic contribution going forward.

Eleven signatories have backed the charter, including RWE npower renewables, GE, Vestas and Ecotricity, and it is now open to support from the rest of the industry.

It is built around the three principles that RenewableUK sees as key to future security and growth. They have distilled these into the following:

  • To invest in the future prosperity and energy security of the UK
  • To provide financial security for families by creating tens of thousands of long-term jobs
  • To provide clean, safe and affordable energy for the UK today and for future generations

In terms of more concrete objectives, the charter outlines an industry pledge to increase wind energy capacity to a level where it can power more than 17m homes by 2020 with investment already in the pipeline totalling some £50bn in that period.

The pledge also undertakes to create almost 80,000 new jobs in that period, taking the total number of employees in the sector to around 90,000 by 2020. And, in the shorter term in order to address the projected demand and skills gap, it pledges to create up to 2,000 places on specialist training courses by the end of 2013 to help people retrain within the sector and creating employment opportunities.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey welcomed the charter saying: “As an island, we have an abundance of free wind energy which we would be crazy not to harness. We have the opportunity to build a world leading wind energy industry; one that will help underpin the future prosperity of the UK by driving investment in the economy and jobs, reducing our dependency on imported resources, and by cutting carbon emissions. The Government recognises wind energy as a key part of the UKs energy mix and fully supports the RenewableUK Wind Energy Charter and the principles by which the industry will work to deliver these significant economic benefits”.

RenewableUK chief executive Maria McCaffery, responded by underlining the need for a collaborative approach with government to ensure the charter achieves its aims: “If we are to secure the UK wind energy industry’s global leadership position and reap the significant economic benefits this will continue to deliver in terms of investment and jobs, we must work in partnership with the government and public. The Charter sets out the industry’s vision for our role in this partnership and the principles that we will work to in order to ensure that wind energy is at the heart of a prosperous future for the UK.”

Will Parsons

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