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Renewable energy sector in Devon and Cornwall gives huge jobs boost

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 20, 2013

Sunset on the wind turbines at Carland Cross, Cornwall     Picture: Phil Mingo

Sunset on the wind turbines at Carland Cross, Cornwall Picture: Phil Mingo

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The amount of people working in the wind and marine energy sector has increased by 74% in the last three years, according to new figures.

The wind, wave and energy sector now directly employs 18,465 people, according to RenewableUK, the trade body for the industry.

Although the statistics are national, an industry expert said the meteoric rise has been matched in the Westcountry, where an estimated 10,000 people were employed in renewables in 2012.

The industry has been criticised in the past for the lack of jobs it provides for local workers, however the RenewableUK study estimates around 91% remain in the country.

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In the South West, which witnessed the genesis of the wind turbine industry over two decades ago, it is estimated the employment figure will rise to 15,500 by 2020.

But Merlin Hyman, from Regen South West, a leading centre of sustainable energy expertise, said that could rise to as much as 34,000 if the technology was embraced. "We have got the Atlantic Array proposals off the coast of Devon," he said. "It's not the case that all the jobs will come to Devon but a significant proportion could if we work hard at that. What we are starting to see are the two visions of the South West. Are we innovative, high tech, creating new jobs, building, doing it in the right way? Or are we going to say no, to Atlantic Array for example, not to damage tourism. This is a huge challenge, with huge investment going on, creating huge opportunities. The question is are we going to take a leading role?"

Atlantic Array developer RWE estimates the controversial off-shore 240 turbine installation would create the equivalent of around 430 jobs during its construction, if the plans, currently under consideration by the Planning Inspectorate, are approved.

ScottishPower Renewables which recently spent £20million on upgrading the Carland Cross windfarm between Truro and Newquay estimated about 100 people worked on the job. A spokesman said it will provide around five technicians and one full-time supervisor going forward. Other jobs include electrical network providers, civil contractors for building and road maintenance, specialist technical resources, and environmental monitoring resources.

He said: "The growth of renewable energy in the UK, and the thousands of jobs that the industry now supports, owes a great deal to those first generation of projects that were forged in the South West."

RenewableUK's Chief Executive, Maria McCaffery, said the scale of the opportunity for the industry going forward was massive, but success not guaranteed. She said: "To really harness the economic benefits of our technologies we must ensure that there is certainty for industry. Certainty on future levels of deployment of wind, wave and tidal energy over the next decade will enable firms to invest in the right people and the right skills, and ensure we maximise the number of green collar jobs we create as we transform our electricity system. We want to ensure offshore wind is given the same opportunity to prosper as the North Sea oil and gas industries had in their heyday."

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19 comments

  • Stork  |  September 21 2013, 12:55PM

    If, the Atlantic Array ever gets built. Apart from some electrical switchgear work where the cables come ashore in North Devon. All the rest of the work, and jobs, will be in South Wales. On that side of the Channel, they have a choice of at least five enclosed docks, each of which can provide safe mooring at all states of the tide for North Sea oil rig type vessels. The docks are also quite near, or very near, regarding access to the M4 for large and long loads. ps. The electrical switchgear work in North Devon will almost certainly be carried out by specialist electrical contractors who will move into the area, and return to their home base when connections are completed. What will be guaranteed however, is that North Devon WILL be left with a blot on the seascape.

    |   8
  • johndavies  |  September 21 2013, 9:12AM

    by Cottage Farm Organics Friday, September 20 "Artic ice is currently 60% up on last year: otherwise known as anecdotal evidence. Can you guess why? Could it be that the long term trend is not affected by one out-of-the-normal measurement? Try and find your scientific hat, or have you lost it?" Look what I found in my 'scientific hat', some empirical evidence – 30yrs of NASA pics of the Arctic ice melts…& refreezing compressed into a few mins, note the amount at beginning & end. Arctic Sea Ice timelapse from 1978 to 2009 - http://tinyurl.com/nmxr5f Similar for Antarctic showing increase of ice extent - Antarctica Ice 2000 to 2009 - http://tinyurl.com/caw88uc & some anecdotal evidence Greenpeace Leader Admits Arctic Ice melt was Exaggeration http://tinyurl.com/lyrgew9

    |   1
  • johndavies  |  September 21 2013, 8:47AM

    sandman18 thanks for that Brill & useful spreadsheet about ROCs, http://tinyurl.com/kaf9wq8 Really good to see daily production factor & days above & below annual average. I will use it (if I may) in conjunction with http://tinyurl.com/dyq3xb9 to sandman18 - you have an email at - info@stopitmeddon.co.uk

    |   2
  • sandman18  |  September 20 2013, 11:01PM

    I have just added a link to our website and down the bottom of the page is a link to a spreadsheet I keep updated every day from the output shown on the BM Reports website for wind turbine output. It is only for a bit of fun but it does give some idea of what we are paying in subsidies now for wind power. This does not include solar so if you added that into the mix along with STOR the figure of £9 from Organic Farmer is a joke!! Also note the average output figures and the days over 30%. http://tinyurl.com/96bxqsl

    |   6
  • johndavies  |  September 20 2013, 8:25PM

    ( "But do tell us where you get your figures from." ) Look here for a flavour of CASH generated by windfarms per mth, (More than 50% is subsidy's.) see these OFGEM figs - http://tinyurl.com/lrl8u49 - (Have smelling salts handy, The monthly total column reads in £millions !!) Plus, according to government papers, see- https://http://tinyurl.com/k96kr33 we will be paying more when the new 'improved' strike prices are implemented over 3x the wholesale cost of electricity, (it will be £4.3 billion in 2015/16 for just 6% of our power, rising to £7 billion in 2020) Plus, up to 12x the wholesale cost of electricity, for diesel 'STOR' backup. See - http://tinyurl.com/q4p67nt That's just some of the costs of the 'free wind energy' !!!

    |   9
  • Cottage Farm Organics  |  September 20 2013, 7:02PM

    ...ridiculous figure of £9 per year for the extra fuel costs resulting from the feed-in-tariff: straight from the horses mouth, otherwise known as DECC's quarterly energy report. You can read it yourself if you can bear the odd fact. Artic ice is currently 60% up on last year: otherwise known as anecdotal evidence. Can you guess why? Could it be that the long term trend is not affected by one out-of-the-normal measurement? Try and find your scientific hat, or have you lost it?

    |   -6
  • Dantwo  |  September 20 2013, 6:06PM

    I was wonderIng how long it would be before Cottage Farm Oganics left their yurt to add their twopenneth. Where did you get this ridiculous figure of £9 per year for the extra fuel costs resulting from the feed-in-tariff? According to the 'global warmers' the Artic ice should now be melted and half the South Seas islands under water. In fact, Artic ice is currently 60% up on last year at the moment and growing. CO2 emissions are a farce used to justify taking more money out of people's pockets. But do tell us where you get your figures from.

    |   7
  • BarnstapleMan  |  September 20 2013, 5:09PM

    I personally think its great that the south west is getting so heavily involved in such an exciting sector. As technology improves it will become much more efficient and cost effective, but only if we are willing to invest in it now. I know a few people involved, including one guy who has a small business cleaning solar panels! As far as i'm concerned they can build as many as they want!

    |   -8
  • Cottage Farm Organics  |  September 20 2013, 3:23PM

    Why does blind prejudice so often win over plain facts? Why is a simple statement of the facts marked down? Mystery !

    |   -11
  • Cottage Farm Organics  |  September 20 2013, 3:08PM

    'all of these jobs have been paid for by you through the green subsidy on your energy bills' Yes, on average £9 per household per year! Whilst fossil fuel costs are five times more expensive than they were just 10 years ago. - That's what is responsible for the increase in your energy bills, not renewables.

    |   -11

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