More than 22,000 jobs in Scotland are in the green energy sector, with the industry supporting the economy to the tune of £5.2 billion annually, new figures have shown.
Onshore wind is the country’s biggest renewables employer, with 8,780 full-time equivalent jobs, followed by offshore wind (4,700 jobs) and hydropower (3,290).
The renewable energy industry now provides 97% of Scotland’s energy, according to the statistics from the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute.
The industry has a knock-on effect on other sectors, supporting almost 3,000 jobs in construction and 2,200 jobs in manufacturing, it added.
“In total, renewable activities support the Scottish economy to the tune of £5.2 billion output, £2.3bn gross value added and 22,660 full-time equivalent jobs”, the report says.
Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, which commissioned the report, said: “The renewable energy industry is now recognised as a vital part of Scotland’s economy and is delivering the equivalent of almost all the country’s electricity consumption.
“These new figures show not just the number of people employed by our members and others, but also the reach of the industry into other parts of the economy.
“Armed with this data we can now begin the process of mapping the industry’s growth as it takes a central place in the recovery from coronavirus and, of course, as we deploy more of the energy generation technology needed to meet our 2045 net-zero carbon emissions target.”
The university’s economic research institute figures show onshore wind produces the highest economic output at £2.4 billion, followed by offshore wind £889 million, and hydropower, £915 million.
Those three technologies combined also support output of £772 million every year in other parts of the economy, it added.
Separately, by 2030 there are ambitions to increase the amount of offshore wind harnessed tenfold, as well as upgrading onshore wind sites with new and more efficient turbines.
The institute said there were plans to rapidly expand low-carbon heat technologies like heat pumps and district heating networks to reduce emissions “from Scotland’s most energy-intensive activity – keeping warm.”
The report: The Economic Impact of Scotland’s Renewable Energy Sector, is published on Thursday and covers 2019.
It relates to the following eight renewable technologies: offshore wind; onshore wind; solar photovoltaic; hydropower; other renewable electricity, including geothermal, wave and tidal; renewable heat; renewable combined heat and power; and bioenergy.