Shifting to a zero carbon Britain could provide significant economic benefits to the UK in increased employment, and therefore increased tax revenues.
Counting just the number of “jobs” ignores the difference in duration between jobs. Therefore “job years” is used. While development takes more than a year, looking at the installations in a year and the “job years” this creates gives a good indication of the employment in that year.
The peak year for offshore wind development starts in 2022 and is set as 17GW. The direct and indirect job years based on installations in 2022 is 291,270. The same year has 1.45GW of onshore wind deployed which is 22,229 job years. Therefore over 300,000 could be employed in wind power alone by 2030. The total deployment of wind power in the UK as envisaged in zerocarbonbritain2030 would deliver over 3.4 million job years.
The transition to a low carbon economy will inevitably undermine jobs in other areas. Employment in carbon-intensive industries such as oil and gas, iron, steel, aluminium, cement and lime are already at risk from carbon pricing. However, the UK’s oil and gas industry is also at risk from peak production in the UK’s indigenous reserves, and the increased mechanisation of labour. Evidence suggests that green jobs in energy, construction, transport and agriculture should more than compensate for this, although these may not emerge in the same geographical.