DECC figures show renewable industry announcements in 2011/12 of confirmed and planned investments could create 20,800 jobs
In the last financial year, renewable energy companies unveiled plans to invest nearly £7bn across the UK, potentially creating more than 20,000 jobs, according to new government figures.
Hugh McNeal, chief executive of the Office for Renewable Energy Deployment at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), announced the results of an information-gathering exercise today, including a map revealing Scotland and Yorkshire as key hotspots for clean energy investments.
The figures showed that green energy announcements between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2012 for confirmed investments totalled £3.75bn, creating 7,800 jobs. Companies also announced another £3.19bn of planned green investments during that period, potentially creating 13,000 jobs.
McNeal said there was a further £10.9bn of projects in the scoping stage that could support 18,000 jobs in the coming years if they were taken forward.
The news came a week after the government launched its draft Energy Bill which included plans to replace the current renewables subsidy scheme with new contracts for difference that would guarantee low carbon energy generators a set price for the power they produce.
However, some critics have warned that the market reforms are skewed to support new nuclear plants and may hamper renewable generation.
“The draft Bill is designed to encourage a balanced portfolio of renewables, new nuclear and carbon capture and storage (CCS), and to ensure that these technologies can compete fairly in the marketplace,” said McNeal.
The figures were unveiled alongside a map on DECC’s website detailing regional investments, which showed Yorkshire has attracted the greatest confirmed investment to date, with £1.9bn of new projects creating 5,416 jobs and another £1.8bn and 5,624 jobs in the pipeline.
New investments in Yorkshire include a plan by Drax to inject £50m in a new biomass plant at its existing co-firing plant in Selby, and an announcement by David Brown Gear Systems to invest £2.8m to create a wind turbine research centre in Mirfield, creating 80 jobs. David Brown also won a multi-million pound deal with Samsung to build gearboxes for its 7MW wind turbine.
Scotland came in a close second for confirmed announcements, attracting £1.7bn of new investments. However, it has also lined up £8bn of investments and 3,313 jobs, including a plan by Gamesa to invest up to €150m in developing a new offshore wind hub at Edinburgh’s Port of Leith.