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26 Apr 2012 12:04:44

Bioenergy could employ 50,000 in UK by 2020, says new NNFCC report

A new report by bioeconomy consultants NNFCC for the UK Government, suggests that heat and power from biomass could deliver up to 50,000 jobs over the next eight years.

“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,” said author of the report Fiona McDermott.

The study was commissioned by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change – alongside two other pieces of NNFCC research on the potential for domestically grown energy crops and barriers to bioenergy deployment – to provide evidence for the Government's Bioenergy Strategy, published today.

Analysis is based on estimates from the Renewables Roadmap and suggests that employment in the bioenergy sector will exceed that of all other renewable energies due to the extra demands of feedstock production, supply and handling. This added benefit is currently underestimated but should be used 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 these jobs are likely to be technical roles, primarily in the engineering and construction sectors, required during both the construction and operation of new bioenergy plant.

In addition to this there are significant 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 on the level of uptake, origin of the feedstocks 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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