Earthsummit 2002 - A guide to UK Local Agenda 21 renewable energy projects. Earthsummit 2002
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UK Renewable Energy Jobs.  

Renewable energy is a new growth area.

The UK Government is commited to getting 10% of UK electricity from renewable energy sources by 2010 and planning up to 20% by 2020, as part of a programme designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and thereby reduce the risk of Climate Change and Global Warming.

Expansion on this scale will mean the creation of a lot of new jobs.

Just looking at one of the new renewable energy technologies - wind turbines sited offshore - the British Wind Energy Association estimates that this could lead to the creation of 5000 engineering jobs and some 19,000 jobs in all.

The UK already has 1000 wind turbines in operation in windy areas around the country, with over 300 megawatts of generating capacity, and windpower is set to expand rapidly as it goes offshore. By 2010 it might be supplying 6% of the UK's electricity.

Plans for Europe's largest windfarm have just been announced on the Isle of Lewis, off the west coast of Scotland. The £600 million project is being led by two British companies and has the potential to provide around 1% of the UK's energy needs.The construction will lead to many new local jobs, especially with the re- opening of a former oil fabrication yard to manufacture the 300 turbines.

Britain's first wind turbine factory will create 170 jobs at the £11.5m plant on the Mull of Kintyre. The factory is part funded by public money and will open in a jobs blackspot.

The other big option is energy crops - fast growing willow coppices which can be regularly harvested to provide fuel for advanced gas turbines which then generate electricity. By 2010 we might generate 3% of our electricity this way.

Now in the development phase there's Wave and tidal stream power. Meanwhile Solar photovoltaic projects are expanding rapidly. Photovoltaic (PV) systems convert light directly into electrical energy, even in cloudy Britain! Soon we will be seeing PV cells on many buildings and an expanding export industry as PV catches on around the world.

Green Energy is a growth industry with increasing career opportunities for graduates and postgraduates - and not only those from a technology background. There are also a range of non-technical jobs in the renewable energy field. Behind programmes like solar PV there is a lot of research and development work as well as planning and marketing and a wide range of new employment options are opening up.

Openings are appearing in campaigning, sales, marketing, as well as the technical side. Green energy initiatives by national Government, the European Union and big business will mean an estimated half million new jobs across Europe over the next 10 years. "A lot of people have developed skills in other fields. Renewables are an opportunity to apply those skills and feel they are doing something beneficial and worthwhile" says Dr. Adam Brown, who manages the DTI New & Renewable Energy Programme at the Energy Technology Support Unit (ETSU) based at Harwell.

© Ambit Interactive 2002
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