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Renewable Jobs Plummet by a Third in the UK

24 Jun 10:00 by Steve Walia

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Renewable energy jobs have plummeted in the UK by a third in recent years as clean energy generation capacity has fallen. The worrying news has been revealed by a new report which highlights the concerns faced by firms in the green power sector.

The renewables business union Prospect found that the number of clean energy jobs fell by 30% from 2014 to 2017 as the government slashed its subsidy and support schemes. Investment in the UK's sector also dropped by a half.

The union has demanded that the government support a fair transition to newer forms of energy, comparing the challenging situation to the one faced by coal mining firms and communities in Thatcher's era.

The report included data sets gathered from the government, industry and surveys. Prospect spokesperson Sue Ferns said that the market-led approach taken by the government hadn't been successful and had led to green jobs being sent offshore whilst British firms were left to struggle.

She added that unless the government committed to a sound industrial strategy that promoted clean energy generation, businesses in the sector would be unable to guarantee the future of the UK's growing clean economy.

The currently concerning situation was also made more critical by the ongoing focus on Brexit. 

The drop in jobs occurred when generous subsidy schemes for solar panels and onshore wind were cancelled early. Government ministers argued that the costs of renewable energy had sharply fallen and that the public should no longer be obliged to prop up the sector. However, subsequent reworkings of government subsidies mean that the renewable industry had no certainty or clarity.

The government said that green-collar jobs had grown to 400,000 and that it had invested £2.5 billion into low-carbon technology innovation.