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UK jobs in the bioenergy sectors by 2020, NNFCC 11-025

This forty-three page report examines the job creation potential for a UK bioenergy industry by 2020.

Author Fiona McDermott, NNFCC
Published 26 Apr 2012
Industry Bioenergy
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Biomass will have a major role in delivering the UK’s 2020 renewable energy targets.  However there has been a lack of reliable data on the wider benefits this potentially significant industry could bring to the UK economy.

This study was commissioned by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change as part of the Bioenergy Strategy and sought to provide reliable evidence for the jobs creation potential of the UK bioenergy sector.

Jobs potential in the bioenergy sector is estimated to exceed that in all other renewable energies due to the additional element of feedstock production, supply, handling and logistics. This is an added benefit that appears to be underestimated at present but can be used in order to attract and secure future support, says the report.

By far the biggest area for jobs creation was the biomass heat sector which could create up to 30,000 jobs by 2020 – with more than half of those jobs being permanent. Electricity from biomass could similarly offer up to 18,000 jobs by 2020 and anaerobic digestion a further 2,500.

In total this could generate between 35,000-50,000 jobs in bioenergy by 2020.  The majority of jobs are likely to be technical roles, primarily in the engineering and construction sectors, required during both the construction and operation phase of new bioenergy plant. In addition to this there are clear employment opportunities for the UK biomass supply sector; including roles in feedstock production, harvesting, processing and haulage.

However the number of people employed in the sector will be highly dependent upon the level of uptake of the technologies, origin of the feedstock’s and the supply chain structures used.

The evaluation of potential levels of employment in the bioenergy sector in the report highlights that there are significant opportunities for the UK, and that the economy is likely to benefit considerably from deployment of bioenergy.

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