More than 12,000 jobs and £18 billion of private investment is forecast for Scotland’s offshore wind industry over the next five years as we transition to a renewable energy economy.
New research from the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) underlines the business response as the green industrial revolution takes shape.
The OWIC forecasts that the number of people working in direct and indirect jobs linked to the sector in Scotland will rise from 9,000 to over 21,000 by 2026.
Scotland currently has the highest proportion (30%) of offshore wind employment in the UK.
The forecast shows that this percentage will be maintained as jobs increase over this decade, providing sustained long-term growth.
As part of its Green Recovery Plan, the SNP Government has the ambition to increase offshore wind capacity to 11 gigawatts (GW) of energy installed by 2030 – enough to power more than eight million homes.
Industry chair of OWIC, Danielle Lane said:
“The offshore wind industry employs thousands of people in parts of the country which other sectors fail to reach and need levelling up the most.
“We offer opportunities to people from all backgrounds and with qualifications at every level to work in an industry which is playing a crucial role in tackling dangerous climate change, enabling us to meet net zero emissions targets as fast as possible.”
The Offshore Wind Skills Intelligence Report was commissioned by OWIC's Investment In Talent Group, set up in 2019. It is described as “by far the most comprehensive survey ever conducted in the UK into the full extent of the economic benefits of offshore wind.”
Ben Miller, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, said:
"As the windiest country in Europe, 30% of the UK's offshore wind workforce is currently based here in Scotland, with this set to increase to over 20,000 jobs in the next few years as offshore wind plays an increasingly central role in our net-zero economy.”
Kenneth Gibson added:
"Many of these highly-skilled jobs are based in coastal and rural areas, bringing investment and opportunities to local communities which otherwise would not exist. There is a great opportunity for North Ayrshire and its people to benefit, not least through the Ayrshire Growth Deal.
"As well as delivering local jobs, there exists a huge economic opportunity to export these world-leading skills and technologies across the globe as we transition to a renewable economy and other countries embark on decarbonisation."
Roles include engineers, project managers, software designers, component manufacturers, turbine technicians, welders, deep sea divers, boat crews and helicopter pilots. Almost 80% are classed as highly skilled, technical and management roles.
Apprenticeships make up 1.8% of the workforce, with the industry committed to raising this to 2.5% as soon as possible.