Confidence in the green industries plummets as Scots and UK Tories continue supporting cuts to subsidies
CHARITIES AND INDUSTRY EXPERTS have warned that unless the Tory UK Government clarifies its support for renewables in Scotland, the industry could witness one in six jobs being lost.
According to a new industry survey by Scottish Renewables, respondents said they predicted an average decrease in full-time employment in Scotland of 16.9 per cent.
From the same survey, four out of 10 businesses said they felt “negatively” about the next 12 months and the future of the industry.
This news comes at a time when the Tory Government is being rebuked by the Scottish Government for cutting subsidies for onshore and offshore wind projects which has affected investment in Scotland.
“These are worrying findings and underline the urgent need for the UK Government to clarify its plans to support renewables and the thousands of people now employed in the sector.” Lang Banks
Jenny Hogan, the director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said: “These results show that changes to and closures of support schemes are having an impact on our members and on the numbers of employees within their businesses.
“The UK Government is rightly excited about the economic opportunities presented by the impacts of the global shift to low-carbon energy, but it’s really important we don’t forget about the jobs in our renewable energy sector today.
“Onshore wind and solar are the two cheapest forms of electricity, but ministers are refusing to allow them to access long-term contracts for power, which will result in a marked slowdown in investment and a decrease in employment, as our survey has suggested.”
A week ago the Scottish Tories revealed their energy policy pans ahead of the local elections in May. In the proposals are plans for two new nuclear facilities at the existing sites of Torness and Hunterston.
This was put forward by the Tories as an example of their commitment to being the “green and responsible party in Scotland for energy security of supply and jobs”. However, critics say that the Scottish Tories made no arraignment for where nuclear waste will be stored in Scotland and long-term costs of building and maintaining nuclear sites.
Other new nuclear projects such as the Hinkley Point C site in Sussex, were rumoured to be costing the UK taxpayer in excess of £35bn in payments to private firms from France and state companies from China.
Also commenting on the survey of the Scottish renewable energy sector, WWF Scotland director, Lang Banks said: “These are worrying findings and underline the urgent need for the UK Government to clarify its plans to support renewables and the thousands of people now employed in the sector. Scotland has incredible natural renewable energy resources, but if it is to maximise the economic opportunities on offer, the UK Government must provide energy companies with a clear route to market.
“However, given we’re part of the GB energy market, this is not just an issue for Scotland. As a net exporter of electricity, Scotland plays a key role in helping the whole of the UK in cutting its carbon emissions.”
“The UK Government must provide energy companies with a clear route to market.” Lang Banks
The renewables sector currently employs around 21,000 people in Scotland and has seen a recent boom in hydro, tidal and wave technology and research.
Theresa May in her speech to Scottish Tory party conference in Glasgow today (Friday 3 March) told her audience how the union between Scotland and England was producing companies with the chance to develop new skills and move into new sectors.
The prime minister pointed to firms which began in construction and steel but have moved on to energy and renewable technology. She said: “Firms like Ferguson Marine of Port Glasgow, which is marrying traditional shipbuilding skills with world-leading innovations in equipment and processes.”
Picture courtesy of ajay_jk
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