UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


Renewable energy can create up to 150,000 new UK jobs says new paper by ISR researchers

8 October 2020

Renewable energy can create up to 150,000 new UK jobs, six times more than nuclear electricity, 75% long-term.

Wind turbines in field from bird's eye view

Wider adoption of renewable electricity can lead to up to 150,000 jobs by 2030 in the UK power sector, according to a new study by Theodoros Arvanitopoulos, a Doctoral Researcher at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources and a Senior Research Associate at the University of East Anglia and Paolo Agnolucci, Associate Professor at UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources. 

After British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement supporting the creationg of 60,000 jobs by 2030 last Tuesday (6 October), Theodoros said:

We have found robust evidence for new job creation as the UK progresses to decarbonisation.”

New renewable energy has led to the energy sector employing 11 million people globally from 2012-2018. In 2019, UK wind farms, solar panels, biomass, and hydro plants generated more electricity than coal, oil, and gas combined. Carbon intensive technologies are gradually being abandoned with consequent reduction in employment.

Theodoros and Paolo analysed employment in the UK power sector and amount of electricity produced by different technologies from 1990 to 2016.

They conclude there could be up to 150,000 net jobs created by 2030, with an average of about 55,000 jobs, depending on the types of energy mix that is delivering decarbonisation. Increasing renewable electricity can stimulate six times higher long-term employment impact than an equally sized increase in nuclear electricity. 

Seventy-five per cent of the jobs created by the deployment of renewable energy are sustainable in the long term.

Theodoros concluded:

Renewable electricity supply can have a considerable positive long-term employment effect far beyond 60,000 long-term sustainable jobs.”

Boris Johnson also announced a budget of £160m for wind turbine upgrades to help the country “build back greener.” This will create 2,000 jobs in construction and support 60,000 more. Johnson also announced plans to raise its offshore wind power capacity from 30 gigawatts to 40 gigawatts.

Theodoros Arvanitopoulos and Paolo Agnolucci’s research is published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews and funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and UK Energy Research Council. 

Read the full paper.

Photo by Thomas Richter on Unsplash