20/08/19, Cate Nelson Shaw

Renewables: Tomorrow’s people and skills today

Renewables, change, emplyment

There is a Scots proverb about the weather: “The rain cams scouth, when the wind’s i’ the south” meaning heavy rain will occur freely and without restraint when there is a wind blowing from the south. Perfect natural resources for the potential of our Renewables sector.

Of Scotland’s Renewables sector, onshore wind (turbines situated on land) is the biggest single technology, accounting for 72% of installed capacity, with other major sources including solar, hydro and bioenergy (energy generated from organic matter and also known as biomass). And certainly, for a small country, Scotland packs a punch and is on course to establishing a global reputation for excellence in energy, as the government works towards transitioning to 50% Renewable energy by 2030.

In 2017 the UK the Low Carbon and Renewable Energy (LCRE) sector accounted for over 33% of all UK turnover and just under 20% of the UK full-time equivalent employees, which in the same year in Scotland was 50% of Scottish turnover and over 33% of FTE employees respectively. Little wonder the Scottish Government has identified Renewables as a growth sector, with the Office of National Statistics figures showing that 17,700 people were employed in Scotland’s Renewable energy sector:


And this number is projected to increase as the UK government transitions to 100% Renewable energy. OPITO, the global, not-for-profit, skills body for the energy industry, explains that people acquiring relevant technical skills is the key to adapting to dynamic technology in the industry, skills such as specific project management, engineering expertise on solar, wind, tidal and nuclear power and project financing.

Charlie Thompson, Marketing and Communications Director at ORE Catapult says, “We need people coming through today with the qualifications that we need tomorrow. The next generation is going into industries that we are only just beginning to develop now, and they are going to be essential to the fourth industrial revolution”.

New industries and technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and digitalisation, all of which provide extensive potential for cross-sector innovation within the emerging new energy industries and influence the development of the renewable energy sector as a whole.

Who would ever have thought that the dreich Scottish weather would have been such a competitive advantage?

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