Wales’ Energy & Environment Sector is one of Fastest Growing in the UK

Edwina Hart AM

Edwina Hart AM

A new mapping study has revealed the energy and environment sector is one of the fastest growing in Wales and the UK, employing 58,000 people in more than 2000 companies with a combined turnover of £4.8 billion.

The study by Innovas Consulting, covering a period from 2006-2013, reveals the sector showed significant increases in terms of company numbers, employment and sales turnover.

An initial survey in 2006  focussed solely on  renewable  energy technologies and environmental goods and services while this latest study also includes new low carbon technologies and energy sub sectors including nuclear power, conventional fossil fuels and the electrical power industry.

A direct comparison with the original 2006 study shows the renewable  energy technologies and environmental goods and services sectors have grown from £1.2billion to £2.36billion in turnover – an increase of 90%; employment has increased from 22,160 to 30,100 – an increase of 35%, while the number of companies has grown from 1320 to 1819.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said:” The survey provides some interesting reading and highlights the importance of the sector to the Welsh economy and the very significant growth that has taken place during some very challenging financial and economic conditions.

“It is one of our priority economic sectors with high growth potential and I welcome the significant strides that have been made in terms of overall turnover, company growth and employment numbers.

“I am also pleased that a number of support initiatives from the Welsh Government  have been singled out as making an important contribution to the sector.”

The report noted that continuing Welsh Government support and commitment to the sector  should not be underestimated as many areas of the UK no longer have public sector support for the sector.

Renewable energy has seen  faster growth than any other sub sector and covers solar, biomass, geothermal and wave and tidal technology. This sub sector is supported by good academic research capability and has seen turnover grow from £75m in 2006 to over  £300m in 2013; the number of companies has increased from 85 to 226, with employment increasing from 1720 to 3900  – an over all increase of 300%.

Environmental goods and services sub sectors such as waste management, water supply and wastewater treatment and environmental consultancy showed a total turnover of £1.95billion with around 1500 companies employing approximately 24,500. The figures represent a 70% growth in turnover and a 25% rise in company and employment figures over the past seven years.

The survey points out the level of power generating capacity in Wales is higher than UK average –including gas, pumped storage, hydro, wind and coal – which provides a higher level of opportunity for local supply chain companies.

  • 80% of companies surveyed had their HQ in Wales.
  • Nearly 200 companies have been established since 2001 – nearly 60% of the total.
  • 10% of companies had a turnover above £15m compared with only 4% in 2006.
  • About 43% of respondents have engaged in collaborative activities with academic establishments over the last three years.
  • 75% of the companies forecasting growth in the next three years, with 21% expecting high growth.
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