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More than 27,000 jobs supported by Scotland’s renewable energy sector, new report finds

Latest update from Fraser of Allander Institute finds the industry also generated an estimated £5.6bn in output and supported more than £2.5bn in gross value added (GVA)

Calls for UK and Scottish Governments to significantly improve data available on renewable energy sector in time for 2023 report

Scotland’s renewable energy industry and its supply chain supported more than 27,000 full time equivalent jobs and generated £5.6 billion of output in 2020, new figures released today (October 4) show.

Reporting on the latest available figures Strathclyde University’s Fraser of Allander Institute finds that onshore wind supported the most employment across the economy, with 10,120 full time equivalent (FTE) roles, followed by offshore wind (6,735 roles) and hydropower (4,395).

Including spill-over impacts, economic activity stimulated across the wider Scottish economy, onshore wind had the largest output, generating nearly £2.5 billion, with offshore wind and hydropower both supporting more than £1.1 billion output.

The renewable energy sector is not currently defined in national statistics published by either the UK or Scottish Governments, so the size of the sector has been estimated using data published by the Office for National Statistics.

Using the latest available data from 2020, the report assesses the impact of the renewable energy sector and its spill-over impacts on Scotland’s supply chain and economy.

Claire Mack, Chief Executive at Scottish Renewables, said: 

“The renewable energy sector in Scotland continues to go from strength to strength and this report from the Fraser of Allander Institute gives us an encouraging sign of how much the Scottish economy is benefiting from the work our members are doing as we transition to a fossil fuel free future.

“As an industry we want to demonstrate how we are adding to the UK and Scottish economy and we want to be able to track how well we are progressing with the transition to a cleaner, cheaper and more resilient energy system in the UK. We urgently need much more robust data collection to understand how the renewable energy industry is performing and evolving across the UK.

“Scottish Renewables urges the UK and Scottish Governments to develop stronger data on the renewable energy sector. This will support transparency and accountability for government and industry economic and environmental targets.”

James Black, Fellow at the Fraser of Allander Institute at the University of Strathclyde, said:

“This report demonstrates the significant contribution that renewables make to Scotland’s economy.

“While the industry clearly plays a critical role in progress towards net-zero targets, it also provides many economic opportunities for Scotland. These opportunities include the potential for technological development, new export markets, and prosperity for rural parts of Scotland that may otherwise be economically left behind.

“However, opportunities do not provide prosperity in themselves. To ensure that Scotland makes the most of its renewable potential it is important that government and industry can adequately measure whether progress is being made.”