Research shows that the North of England could create 46,000 new jobs in green energy by 2030, providing the right support is put in place to help communities with the transition.
The report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) suggests that the North of England could be disproportionately affected by the shift to a greener, lower carbon economy.
As the home to the country’s largest number of coal and gas power stations, the think tank estimates that around 28,000 jobs in the traditional power sector could be lost in the North by 2030 as the UK transitions away from fossil fuels.
However, the North also produced nearly half of the UK’s renewable power between 2005 and 2014 and is in a unique position to capitalise on the opportunity of clean power.
With the right support and infrastructure in place, the IPPR estimates that the job losses from fossil fuel industry could be more than offset by up to 46,000 new jobs in the low carbon power sector by 2030.
This would require what IPPR describes as a “just transition” to support clean energy in the North and re-skill workers towards low carbon energy industries.
Such a transition has just been put into practice in Spain, where the government has agreed a deal with unions to shut down most of its coal mines by the end of the year and invest €250 million in affected regions to help re-skill communities towards green industries.
Sarah Longlands, director of IPPR North, said: “This report highlights the importance of the energy sector for the North’s future prosperity, and for the first time makes the connection between economic opportunity and economic justice by calling for a ‘just transition’.
“The benefits of the energy sector in the North will only be fully realised if the people who are already working in the industry are given the time, skills and support which enables them to make the most of new opportunities in low carbon energy.”