More than fifty percent of the companies which are currently working in the renewable energy sector are likely to hire more staff in 2014, as revealed in a survey by Scottish Renewables, an industrial body which commissioned the research. It was also revealed that around 11,700 people were currently working in the renewable energy sector on a full time basis. This is a record in itself. This figure shows an increase of 5% from the last time that the same study was commissioned, which was in the past year. In a document revealed by Scottish Renewables it stated that the results painted a very bright picture of the future of the renewable industry sector. From an economic perspective, when a sector is looking to increase its overall employment, it ultimately means that it is likely to expand. The news comes on the back of numerous efforts that have been made on the part of the Government to excel in the field of renewable energy, as coal and gas fired power stations are coming under increased pressure due to the rising demand of electricity.
The survey conducted by Scottish Renewables gave an indication that the Lothians, Highlands, Glasgow, Islands as well as the North East were at the top of the list, showing the regions that were hiring the maximum amount of people. As also revealed by the survey, the largest sources of employment within the renewable energy industry of the United Kingdom were onshore wind, which comprised around 39%, offshore wind, which comprised 21%, while marine and bio energy constituted around 9%. The total number of companies that were put through the survey was around 540. From these, 54% stated that they are likely to increase the total number of staff employed within the next 12 months.
42% of the companies, however, stated that they are not going to hire any further in the next year, while only 1.6% of the people stated that they were going to let go of employees. Joss Blamire, the senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, stated that these current figures give a clear indication that steady growth is taking place in the renewables industry reflected in the total number of people employed, even though it was a pretty unpredictable year. He also stated that the numerous job opportunities afforded to ecologists, project managers as well as engineers has ultimately allowed people to perceive the renewable energy industry as a sector in which they can put their training and skills to a very viable use. Despite stating that this was one of the best positions that the renewables industry has ever been in, Mr. Blamire was quick to state that the renewables industry must avoid becoming complacent.
He stated that there were several barriers that had been identified which could hinder the future growth of the industry significantly. Certain factors that he identified from the survey included market reforms that have taken place in the electricity sector, including planning problems as well as connecting projects to the electrical grid, all of which could prove to be potential barriers which could prevent or limit the future growth of the industry.
On the other hand, these figures were well received by the environmental campaign group WWF Scotland. Sam Gardner, the Head of Policy stated that the report was a clear example that the renewable sector of Scotland was not only bringing down climate emissions as well as providing up to 40% of the overall electricity needs of the nation, but it was also proving to be a very vital employer throughout Scotland. He further stated that even though, at present, no construction had begun or was likely to begin in the near future within Scottish waters in relation to offshore wind farms, they were already proving to be the second biggest employers throughout the industry, which provides a clear idea of the huge opportunity that lies ahead for the whole of Scotland in the renewable sector.
Sam Gardner also stated that if responsible development was carried out along with meticulous planning, the country will be able to utilize all of the vast energy that can be generated from the seas, which would also create thousands of additional jobs and most importantly, will play a major role in the transition to create a low carbon economy. This news comes on the back of a very good year for the renewable energy industry, despite there being a lot of reservations about this sector. Britain, as a whole is trying, like many other countries to reduce its reliance solely on gas and coal fired power stations and move towards low carbon emitting solutions to producing electricity.
And, for that reason, solar and wind power have been touted as the major players in the renewable energy sector. However, at present, the technology that is currently being used for the mass scale generation of electricity by making use of solar and wind energy is still pretty much inefficient and cannot be used for mass scale generation. Numerous new initiatives have been taken by the Government, such as the launch of the One Million Roofs campaign which aims to install solar PV systems on one million rooftops throughout the UK by the year 2015. Even though the Government hasn’t really provided any further information or inclination to further the wind energy industry, it remains to be seen whether there will be further improvements within the sector.
At present, the wind industry is flying high, despite numerous MPs announcing that they were not in support of the wind energy industry at all. As a review of the energy bill is still underway, it remains to be seen as to what changes the government is likely to bring in this field. At present, the market is perfectly poised for international investment, and if the government can introduce improved subsidies, then local companies can also take interest in the renewable energy sector. A