A fair wind: public support and new jobs in wind industry
The wind industry is enjoying a period of employment growth and public support. Siemens will create 700 jobs at a new wind turbine plant planned for Hull docks, with many more jobs likely in supply chains. It’s part of a plan to develop a renewable energy hub at Green Port Hull in the Alexandra Dock area of the city, with Siemens investing £80m and ABP £130m. Meanwhile, Mabey Bridge the UK’s only indigenous manufacturer of wind turbine towers, is expanding to a 24-hour operation to meet growing demand, creating 45 new jobs. It’s also transferring 50 workers from its bridge-building operation, to join the 102 staff already on site, almost doubling the workforce.
RenewableUK reckons there will be nearly 90,000 jobs in wind energy industry over next decade. The National Infrastructure Plan, unveiled in the Autumn Statement, committed the Government to developing five Centres for Offshore Renewable Engineering in Humber, Tees, Tyne, Lowestoft/Great Yarmouth and Sheerness. In 3 of these 5 locations (Humber, Tees and Tyne), offshore renewables projects will form part of an enterprise zone development strategy and will benefit from enhanced capital allowances. The plan also restates government support for investing up to £60 million over the next four years to develop offshore wind manufacturing facilities at UK ports.
Meanwhile, a Sunday Times YouGov poll shows 56% of public support expansion of wind power, with only 19% against. Some 60% of respondents support Government investment in wind energy, and threequarters want more solar power investment.