UK Wind Energy Jobs Surge 91%

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"UK must derive 15% of electricty, heat and transportation from renewables by 2020."

Employment in the UK wind power industry has surged 91% in three years, the RenewableUK lobby group said today.

The number of people employed full-time in the large-scale onshore and offshore wind energy industry rose to about 9,200 in 2010 from 4,800 in 2007, RenewableUK said today in an e-mailed report. Belfast Harbour plans to create 300 full-time jobs in a 40-million pound ($65-million) project to build a new quay for use by Dong Energy A/S to assemble turbines and foundations, the port and wind farm operator said today in a separate statement.

The UK is banking on wind energy to help meet its European Union target of deriving 15% of energy for electricity, heat and transportation from renewables by 2020. Zamudio, Spain-based Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica said on Jan. 20 that it plans to open an offshore wind technology facility in Glasgow, and Siemens AG the same day said it will open a new factory in Hull.

"The growth in these technologies as well as small wind systems and marine is set not just to continue but accelerate, further driving employment," RenewableUK Chief Executive Officer Maria McCaffery said in the report.

Including wave and tidal power, and small-scale wind turbines, the UK now has about 10,800 people working full time in wind and marine energy industries, the group said. It didn't have comparable figures for 2007.

Britain has 3.9 gigawatts of installed onshore wind capacity and 1.3 gigawatts of offshore power, with another 4.1 gigawatts of both land- and sea-based turbines being built or fully contracted to do so, according to the RenewableUK report. A megawatt of wind capacity powers about 650 typical homes in the UK, according to the group.

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