Back in 2000/1 when I used to attend the Scottish Parliamentary Renewable Energy Group I regularly pushed them to look at the economic impact of wind energy on Scotland. I knew there was a problem, because despite the 45,000 jobs (sometimes the figure was 35,000) that were supposed to come “if we invested in wind”, the evidence from my own contacts to every single “renewables” company I could find in the UK, was that they were all small, far too small to get involved in the wind energy program being pushed by the then Westminster government and Scottish Executive at the behest of SPREG and its English counterpart.
It was painfully obvious to me, having done the real research of someone who wanted to do business with renewable companies in Scotland and/or the UK, that there was no one out there who was a serious contender for creating jobs.
But, because the lack of jobs was hardly a selling point, and because the wind industry spokespeople in Scotland ran the Scottish Parliament Renewable energy group. The subject was never going to be discussed at our parliament. I was even at a meeting, of the Scottish Renewables forum when they openly discussed trying to repress any reporting of Scottish jobs because: “it wasn’t a selling point for wind in Scotland”.
So, it was an open “secret” in the wind industry, that the 35/45,000 UK jobs were never going to come because “if we invested in wind”, really meant: “if we secured all the manufacturing in the UK”, and as it was well known there were no UK companies in a position to take on the already well established Danish and German companies, that idea of 45,000 jobs was a complete greenwash.
Worse still. For each wind job, there were jobs lost in other areas. You can’t put up one kind of generator without loosing another, and because the UK produced quite a lot of the equipment for other types of electricity production, going to (foreign) wind would result in a net loss of jobs. Add to that the harm to tourism, the net economic drain on the economy and it was not hard to see that for every job created in wind, several were at risk for going to wind.
Well 10 years on I seem to have been proved right.
Government support for the renewable sector in Scotland is costing more jobs than it creates, a report has claimed. (BBC)
Apparently Verso Economics estimate 3.7 jobs were lost for every one created in the UK as a whole and they suggested that:
political leaders needed to engage in “honest debate” about the issue.
Come on! Honest debate! There hasn’t been an honest debate about the economic impact of wind energy in Scotland. And what is the Scottish government’s response – another rehash of the lies about 45,000 jobs that were supposed to be created in 2000, but with a few more added for “inflation”:
The Scottish government called the study “misleading” and said 60,000 jobs could be created by the sector by 2020.
Addendum: This story has also been taken up by James Delingpole where he adds: “In total, measurable policies to promote renewable energy cost £1.4 billion in the UK and £168 million in Scotland in 2009/10.”. Also in the Caledonian Mercury: New report casts doubt on Scotland’s role as the ‘Saudi Arabia of renewables’