Scottish renewable energy industry bucks the economic downturn

There was a time in the newspapers when it seemed a week didn’t go by without another announcement of a major retailer going into administration or a company issuing profit warnings. Many traditional industries and businesses have not survived the economic downturn but the renewables sector has managed to successfully buck the trend.

Scottish Renewables recently published figures which show Scotland’s renewable electricity industry has delivered capital investment of some £2.8bn since the beginning of 2009. This has helped to grow the supply chain, secure the future of many companies and support more than 11,000 jobs.

Although renewable energy projects and manufacturing sites can be found across the country, the most prominent sites for wind, wave and tidal are undoubtedly in the Highlands and Islands because of the natural resource – it’s windy and has a challenging marine environment that means good news for renewable energy technologies.

The Orkney Islands have made a big and much celebrated splash with the European Marine Energy Centre, and the Highlands and Islands are also home to major cutting edge renewable energy companies and manufacturers such as Global Energy Group, AWS Ocean Energy, Wind Towers Ltd and Voith Hydro Wavegen to name just a few.

At a time of sluggish growth, these companies are helping drive investment and encouraging more employment opportunities in Scotland. They have contributed to the renewable electricity sector which has expanded by more than 10 per cent a year, and now generates the equivalent of 35 per cent of annual demand.

These figures show the importance of the sector to our economy.  With a continued commitment to renewables through Electricity Market Reform and investment in grid we can keep contributing meaningfully, securing jobs, growing the economy, and ensuring a secure energy supply that also helps us tackle climate change.

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