Scotland’s renewable energy sector boosts economy and employment with over 42,000 jobs, says report

Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables
Audio of Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables

In 2021, Scotland’s renewable energy sector and supply chain sustained 42,000 jobs and £10.1 billion output, with offshore wind leading.

Scotland’s renewable energy industry and its supply chain played a pivotal role in supporting more than 42,000 jobs and generating over £10.1 billion in output during 2021, according to new figures released by Strathclyde University’s Fraser of Allander Institute. Offshore wind has emerged as the primary driver, providing employment for 15,005 full-time equivalent (FTE) roles, surpassing onshore wind (12,030 roles) and renewable heat (7,220 roles).

The Fraser of Allander Institute’s report, an annual collaboration with Scottish Renewables, assessed the economic impact of the renewable energy sector, shedding light on its spill-over benefits on Scotland’s supply chain and economy. The latest data indicates that offshore wind not only leads in job creation but also powered the most economic activity, contributing over £4 billion to the Scottish economy. Onshore wind followed with £3.4 billion, and hydropower contributed £1.2 billion.

The report emphasises the vital role of renewable energy generation in Scotland’s journey toward a net-zero economy, presenting opportunities for technological development, new export markets, and prosperity in rural areas. Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, stressed the significance of the renewable energy industry as a key economic driver for Scotland. She called for improved data collection to better understand the sector’s performance, especially as the industry transitions toward net-zero goals.

Ms. Mack urged, “The UK and Scottish Governments urgently need to enable better data to be collected on the renewable energy sector that will support transparency and accountability as our industry moves towards reaching its economic and environmental targets as part of a just energy transition.”

Professor Mairi Spowage, Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, highlighted the report’s findings, stating, “Renewable energy generation will be the foundation of any net-zero economy.” The report outlines the significant contribution renewables make to Scotland’s economy, with a focus on potential technological development, new export markets, and prosperity for rural regions that might otherwise be left behind.

The collaboration between Scottish Renewables and the Fraser of Allander Institute, now in its third year, shows a notable increase in this year’s figures. This surge is primarily attributed to a substantial rise in offshore wind turnover in 2021. The heightened figures, particularly in the construction sector, indicate the industry’s recovery from the challenges faced in 2020 during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

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