More Renewable Energy May Not Mean More Jobs in Scotland

Lack of large-scale wind turbine manufacturing facilities a major issue.

Published: 03-Jan-2004

SCOTLAND cannot expect a major jobs boost from a surge in alternative energy, an expert is due to tell MSPs next week.

The Scottish Executive has set ambitious targets of increasing the amount of renewable energy generated in Scotland from the current 13 per cent of the total to 18 per cent by 2010 and an "aspirational" target of 40 per cent by 2020.

Scotland is widely seen as having significant potential to develop alternative energy sources, such as wind and wave power.

But in written evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s enterprise committee, Doctor Robin Wallace, director of the Institute for Energy Systems at Edinburgh University, is set to warn it may not mean a major jobs spin-off.

He is expected to say: "Achieving the targets with a single, market-ready, renewable energy technology such as wind power will distribute widely the economic benefits of energy production to international, UK and Scottish investors in that technology."

"Expansion of employment in manufacture and stimulation of local economies will be more limited, since there is no indigenous large wind-turbine manufacturing base.

"The local economic benefit may be restricted to employment in satellite component plants for European manufacturers, and modest employment in operation and maintenance. Local manufacture is likely to be restricted to large components like towers and blades that are difficult to transport."

Dr Wallace is to appear before the committee on Tuesday.

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