New government figures have revealed that over the last financial year nearly £7 billion worth of investments were made in confirmed and planned renewable energy developments.
According to Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) estimates this level of investment could create over 20,000 jobs across the UK.
Between April 1st 2011 and the 31st of March 2012 confirmed investments in consented renewable energy developments totalled £3.75 billion creating 7,800 jobs. Renewable energy developments within the country’s planning system total £3.19 billion worth of investments with the potential to create 13,000 jobs. Additionally there are a further £10.9 billion worth of renewable energy developments in the scoping stage which could potentially support 18,000 jobs.
The figures were announced by DECC’s chief executive of the Office for Renewable Energy Deployment Hugh McNeal. He was promoting the governments recently released Draft Energy Bill and made the following statement:
“The draft bill is designed to encourage a balanced portfolio of renewables, new nuclear and carbon capture and storage [CCS], and to ensure that those technologies can compete fairly in the market place.”
Interestingly the figures also reveal that Scotland and Yorkshire are regarded as key investment hotspots for renewable energy projects. Surprisingly, it is Yorkshire that has attracted the largest amount of confirmed investment; £1.9 billion of new projects which are expected to create 5,416 jobs. Scotland is in second place with £1.7 billion of confirmed investment.
However, when the amount of projects which are in the pipeline is taken into consideration Scotland races ahead. Yorkshire has only £1.8 billion of renewable energy developments in the offing whilst Scotland has £8 billion worth of renewable energy developments lined up; including a number of research and development projects and Gamesa’s recently announced €150 million renewables hub at the Port of Leith.
The figures were enthusiastically greeted by a spokesman for RenewableUK:
“We are also seeing UK companies making investments in the supply chains for our sectors, but this is just the beginning and there is a great deal at stake – more than 88,000 jobs in the wind and marine sector by 2021.
“That’s why it’s vital that we get the details of the policy framework right. That will provide confidence to unlock the investment needed to ensure we maintain momentum. We are working closely with government to ensure that those crucial policies, particularly on Electricity Market Reform are in place as quickly as possible.”
The figures released by DECC underline not only the contribution renewable energy is already making to the British economy but also the huge growth potential of the sector.