Builders' Merchants News

The renewable energy skills 'time bomb'

Published:  25 April, 2012

UK: The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has released a report on the UK renewable energy industry. The report predicts that meeting the UK's mandatory target of producing 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 would result in annual revenues across the sector rising from £12.5bn currently to £50bn by the end of the decade.

It acknowledges that aging infrastructure, skills shortages, and sluggish economic growth means the UK could struggle to reach EU renewable targets. But it also outlines how a framework for integrating renewable energy, industrial, skills, and economic policy could lead to an acceleration in renewable energy deployment that makes the target achievable

Brian Smithers, business development director of Rexel UK commented: “If renewables are to provide 400,000 jobs by 2020, the skills “time bomb” highlighted by the REA must be addressed now. A national strategy for renewable energy skills would be an important step forward, but it’s crucial that the industry doesn’t leave the ball in government’s court. Businesses also need to invest in training and education programmes to ensure that they are sharing their knowledge and expertise.

“Our own experience has shown that demand for training in green skills greatly outstrips provision. In the first year of Rexel’s PV training courses for solar installers we exceeded our target for the number of people trained by 30%. It’s time we stopped talking about what needs to be done and work together to deliver the skilled workforce the industry needs.”