Britain must do more to secure wind energy jobs

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Britain, as a nation, is punching well below its weight when it comes to offshore wind, risking missing legally-binding targets and the opportunity to secure tens of thousands of jobs. It also may risk incurring problems with those that have set the legally binding targets.

This is the conclusion of a new paper published by think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research.

The paper says rapid expansion of the sector is needed to meet EC targets of 15% Britain's energy to come from renewable energy by 2020.

The paper also says that more government support is needed to make Britain a global hub for offshore wind energy, with the potential to create up to 70,000 jobs in parts of the country where they are most needed.

It claims that only 700 people are currently employed in this sector and only one factory in the UK has been set up to make parts for turbines. Most blades, and other equipment, for wind turbines, especially the large commercial ones, comes from abroad; much from Denmark and such. There is, however, no reason why such industries could not be established in Britain creating much needed employment and, probably, a way out of the depression.

Matthew Lockwood, Senior Research Fellow for IPPR, said: "Offshore wind has great potential for UK jobs but we risk being blown off course.”

"The government's pledge to achieve ambitious renewable energy targets by 2020 shows it is serious about its potential but we need to follow through with concrete policies to create greater certainty for industry, maximize the potential for the UK economy and realize our environmental goals."

The report also points to government backing for wind energy industry in Denmark, Spain and Germany saying that initiatives there have successfully provided stimulus for the sector.

However, as per usual, in Britain, we find that government just is not prepared to give any backing such as what other EU countries give to their green industries, in the same way as the British public transit system is the most expensive in all of Europe if not indeed the world while flying is so much cheaper.

The British Wind Energy association (BWEA) has said this is the latest in a long line of reports to show that, despite having the best wind resources in Europe, the UK is failing to cash in on a potential boom area.

Dr Gordon Edge, BWEA director of Economics and Markets, said: "A host of independent studies has shown that the wind sector in the UK can be a motor for economic growth.

"Wind can provide clean, sustainable energy, while attracting investment and creating employment. It is a win-win situation, which, with the right policy framework in place, can benefit the country as a whole."

As, unfortunately, with so many initiatives on the green sector, whether the renewable alternative energy sector, or in other branches, Britain seems to be lagging behind though government tries to tell us that we are not. Example the recent claims that Britain is the leader in recycling all packaging; a statement that just cannot be bought in the way it was presented.

The public must put more pressure on the governments, of this country and elsewhere, to back the green industry and to also make going green possible for the people of their respective nations. And this not just because of the possibility of the burning of fossil fuels for energy having something to do with the changing of the climate but because we must stop the pollution of our environment, and we must do it now. It should have been done the day before yesterday, but... we have to do it now for other wise it may just be too late. We only have this one Earth.

© 2009