The number of people employed in the South West’s renewable energy sector soared by 40% to 7,000 last year, a new report shows.
And with the right support that number could climb to 30,000 jobs by 2020, says Renewable Energy: Made in Britain, by the Renewable Energy Association.
The report shows that nationally the renewable energy sector employed more than 110,000 people in 2010/11. The figure for 7,000 in the South West compares with regional renewable energy group Regen’s figure of 5,000 in 2009/10.
The UK has a target of 15% energy from renewable energy sources by 2020 – and achieving that could create jobs for 400,000 people nationally and 30,000 in the south west.
Regen chief executive Merlin Hyman said: “Renewable energy jobs have continued to boom in the teeth of the recession and even these figures are an underestimate as they don’t include the strong performance of the sector in the last year.
“Over the next decade clean energy is the biggest economic opportunity we have. Backing ambitious projects like the South West Marine Energy Park, Atlantic Array offshore wind farm, Communities for Renewables and work to lead the way on the Green Deal is vital if we are to seize this opportunity.”
Among the South West companies leading the way in renewable energy is Chippenham-based renewable energy supplier and developer Good Energy, which has grown from 55 staff in 2009 to 82 by the end of 2011.