The Economic Impact of Scotland’s Renewable Energy Sector – 2022 Update

  • This report presents estimates of the economic impact of Scotland’s renewable energy
  • Using a model of the Scottish economy that describes inter-industry economic relationships,
    we were able to estimate how much output, gross value added (GVA) and employment
    renewable activities support in Scotland’s economy as a whole.
  • There is no renewables sector defined in the national accounts, so we constructed the
    sector using data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
  • We estimate that the renewable energy industry had a turnover of £3.06 billion and 8,450
    full-time equivalent (FTE) employment in 2020.
  • However, the economic activity supported by renewables sector is far greater than its
    own turnover and employment. The renewable energy sector supports economic activity
    throughout its supply chains and this economic activity supports wage spending across
  • Including these spill-over effects, we estimate that the renewable energy industry supports
    over £5.6 billion of output, over £2.5 billion of GVA and over 27,000 FTE employment across
    the Scottish economy.
  • The technologies that individually support the most FTE employment are onshore wind
    (10,120), offshore wind (6,735), hydropower (4,395) and renewable heat (2,770).
  • However, there is significant uncertainty in the underlying ONS survey of renewable
    activities, particularly at the individual technology level. Our results are therefore
    accompanied by a moderately large margin of error. More robust and timely production of
    renewables data by the UK and/or Scottish Government would allow for more meaningful
    between-year and between-technology comparisons of these estimates.

This report was sponsored by Scottish Renewables and the analysis was undertaken jointly by Scottish Renewables and the Fraser of Allander Institute.


James is a Fellow at the Fraser of Allander Institute. He specialises in economic policy, modelling, trade and climate change. His work includes the production of economic statistics to improve our understanding of the economy, economic modelling and analysis to enhance the use of these statistics for policymaking, data visualisation to communicate results impactfully, and economic policy to understand how data can be used to drive decisions in Government.

Andrew MacNish Porter