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Renewable Energy Sector: High-skilled Jobs

Volume 737: debated on Tuesday 19 September 2023

16. What steps she is taking to help promote the creation of high-skilled jobs in the renewable energy sector. (906470)

This is a crucial area. There are already over 400,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector and that will rise steeply over time. We are investing billions in skills, including green skills and including 26,000 training opportunities in energy efficiency and low carbon heating.

May I urge the Government to give real priority to the creation of apprenticeships in the renewable energy and green sector? That way, we can use net zero to create great opportunities for young people and boost social mobility.

As a former Education Minister, I am absolutely passionate about this area. We have delivered almost 5.5 million apprenticeships since 2010. The Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero, my right hon. Friend the Member for Beverley and Holderness (Graham Stuart) chairs the green jobs delivery group, which will publish a net zero and nature workforce action plan in the first of half of 2024.

I welcome the Secretary of State to her position. Although the UK has the second largest offshore wind capacity in the world after China, Denmark has three times as many jobs in the sector. Many British wind turbines are being built in Spain, Holland and Indonesia. Why are the Government so far behind the curve on the green jobs bonanza that is so possible for our country?

Thanks to Government policy and spending, we will support another 480,000 jobs in the green sector by 2030. As I said, we are leading the way in decarbonising faster than any other G7 country, with the jobs that come with that right across the country.

I, too, welcome the Secretary of State to her place and remind her that we started in this place at the same time, four years ago. Will she highlight the job opportunities in the new renewable energy sector that AI presents for my constituents in Bolton?

My hon. Friend raises an interesting point about the job opportunities presented by AI, which will undoubtedly have an effect across the country and a beneficial effect in this sector. I would be delighted to meet him to speak about this further, but we will be setting out more detail on our green jobs delivery group and our net zero and nature workforce action plan in the first half of 2024.

Would it not boost skills in renewable energy generation and installation, as well as encouraging more uptake, if all those installing solar energy schemes had to be certified under the microgeneration certification scheme so that the householder, farm or business concerned would be guaranteed payment for surplus energy fed into the grid?

The right hon. Gentleman asks an interesting question. We have explored his suggestion of legislating to make certification mandatory. We have no such plans at this time, as there is a mature approach to certification standards, and most UK domestic solar installations already take place within well-established schemes.