SCOTLAND needs full powers over the energy sector to ensure a just transition, the SNP have insisted, after experts estimated jobs in renewables rocketed in 2021.

Steven Bonnar, the party’s environment spokesperson, said the statistics released by the Fraser of Allander Institute show Scotland is leading the way in tackling climate change.

But he believes a just transition to clean energy can only be achieved if Scotland is handed full powers over the sector by Westminster.

The FAI says the industry supported 42,000 jobs in 2021 compared with 27,000 in the previous year.

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Experts estimated the impact of green energy generation using data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), finding 13,600 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs are directly employed in the industry, accounting for £6.1 billion in turnover.

The report also found the number of jobs supported in the supply chain of the sector was much higher, sitting at more than 42,000 FTE, as well as producing output of £10.1bn and £4.7bn of gross value added – a measure of worth to the economy.

Bonnar (below) said: “Scotland is leading the way in renewable energy and tackling climate change, as proven by the research published today which shows that the renewable energy industry supported 42,000 jobs and generated more than £10bn of output for the Scottish economy in 2021.

"Scotland is energy rich and has the potential to be a twenty-first century powerhouse of green and renewable technology - but Westminster is undermining any progress by the Scottish Government by withholding funding and deterring investors with damaging decisions.

The National:

"The Scottish Government is supporting renewable energy by committing to a £500m Just Transition fund and investing £100m in renewable hydrogen projects but only with full energy powers can Scotland achieve a just transition towards renewable energy, realise a net-zero future and strive towards cheaper energy bills for all.

"Scotland has the energy, we just need the power."

The Scottish Greens have also called for more robust data to be produced after the FAI said its report carries a “moderately large margin of error” due to the renewables sector not being defined in the national accounts.

Green MSP Mark Ruskell said: "This report underlines the huge potential we are unlocking in Scotland, with thousands of new and sustainable jobs that are powering us to a cleaner and greener future.

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"This is exactly the right kind of growth our economy and our skilled workers need to see happen. We are attracting investment and not just transitioning jobs, but seeing new ones created both directly and in the value chain. 

"These jobs are not just supporting our environment, they are also putting money in people’s pockets and supporting thousands of families and communities.

"We are doing all of this with one hand tied behind our back by a Westminster government that refuses to see beyond fossil fuels. Just think how much more we could do with the powers of a normal independent country."

Asked whether the Scottish and UK Governments needed to produce more robust data, Ruskell said: "With such a big growth in the sector, and with plenty more to come, we want to see the best and most robust possible data to help us as we plan for a greener and more sustainable future."

The report, commissioned by Scottish Renewables, estimated that onshore wind supported the most jobs with 12,030, followed by 10,120 in offshore wind, 7220 in renewable heat and 5605 in hydropower.

Offshore wind powered the most activity across the Scottish economy, generating more than £4bn, followed by onshore wind with £3.4bn and hydropower with £1.2bn. 

The Scottish Government said it understands the ONS is working to develop further data on renewables and green jobs. The Scottish Government and other UK administrations have fed into this work.