Businesses working in Scotland’s renewable energy sector fear that up to one sixth of their workforce will be lost within the next year as the after-shocks of the ‘Rudd re-set’, the UK Government’s ending of onshore subsidies announced last year by then Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd MP, continue to shake the industry.
Companies in the Scottish Renewables trade association predict an average decrease in full-time equivalent posts in Scotland of 16.9% over the next year.
Wind turbine manufacturer and project developer ENERCON UK employs 155 people in Scotland but anticipates this number could fall by a third as staff move abroad to work in other countries where ENERCON is active. Country Manager Richard Hatton said:
“UK Government policy on onshore wind is leading to a much smaller market, reduced orders and a cut in staff requirements as a result.”
Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas employs 69 people at Cambeltown. Sarah Merrick, Head of Public Affairs, UK and Ireland, added:
“The UK onshore wind sector is currently in limbo. It is the cheapest source of new-build power, yet cannot access the market. UK Government policy is contradictory and looks set to achieve the exact opposite of what it says it wants to achieve: decarbonisation at the lowest cost.” Kenneth Gibson commented:
“Renewables are the largest source of power in Scotland, providing enough energy to meet more than half of our electricity needs and the sector currently employs around 21,000 people. For this key industry to continue providing jobs and ever-greater reductions in carbon emissions, the UK Government must act quickly to give companies the confidence they need to invest. “Onshore wind and solar are the two cheapest forms of electricity, but UK Ministers are refusing them access to long term contracts for power, which will result in a marked slowdown in investment and a fall in employment. In contrast to the Tories at Westminster, the SNP Government recognises the vital role renewables play in delivering economic prosperity and in protecting our environment in our draft Scottish Energy Strategy. “The Tories must demonstrate their commitment to developing an effective, sustainable energy policy framework that will help cut energy bills and safeguard our environment for future generations.”