Now ITV sails into renewables?
Expect the renewables industry to take another pasting on ITV tonight at 7.30. Jonathan Maitland “looks at whether the Government’s commitment to renewable energy could increase our household bills.” The Committee on Climate Change has already dealt with that. Of the total £455 increase in average household energy bills since 2004, by far the largest contributor was the increase in the wholesale price of gas. £30 is due to support for investments in low-carbon power generation. With 2.68 million people unemployed and 6 people chasing every vacancy, I’m keen to see how ITV deals with the jobs, wages and skills benefits of the fast-growing renewable industry.
There are as many as 20 people chasing the one vacancy in some areas. The UK wind industry is growing fast and now employs over 10,000 people, with many projects sites in rural areas and areas of high unemployment. In January alone, 2,700 wind industry jobs were either created or reinforced with new contracts.
As DECC points out, “The creation of jobs in the renewable energy sector, investment in new manufacturing capability, and the consequent direct and indirect benefits will support our transition to a green economy.” The offshore wind industry could directly employ 30,000 people by 2020.
Hopefully ITV will ensure a fair and balanced reporting of the economic successes of the renewable industry. Like Mabey Bridge Ltd, whose Bevil Mabey Structural Steelworks, opened on 12th May 2011, is part of the company’s £38 million investment in the renewable energy sector. This is the UK’s only indigenous manufacturer of wind turbine towers. It created some 240 jobs in addition to the 400 already employed by the company in Chepstow and Lydney.
Or take Scottish and Southern Energy’s Clyde wind farm. It represents an investment of £500 million, with 200 construction jobs as the wind farm is being built and a staff of 30 to operate and maintain the site.
The Scottish Government’s £70 million National Renewables Infrastructure Fund, designed to strengthen port and manufacturing facilities and supply chains, will leverage significant private sector investment. Over the next four years it should deliver 28,000 jobs and £7.1 billion in value to Scotland’s economy over the coming decade.
Perhaps we need a proper analysis of the motivations behind the growing number of attacks on renewable energy in the UK. But in there somewhere is an anti-regulation, anti-government, anti-public funding ideology that is apparently blind to the harsh realities of unemployment, falling wages and diminishing employment opportunities which the green industries could help solve.