SCOTLAND'S renewables sector supported more than 27,000 full-time jobs and generated £5.6 billion of output in 2020, according to new figures.

The report from Strathclyde University’s Fraser of Allander Institute found that onshore wind supported the most employment across the country, with 10,120 full-time equivalent (FTE) roles.

Offshore wind and hydropower supported 6.735 and 4395 FTE roles respectively.

Including spill-over impacts, which include economic activity which is stimulated by the industry across the wider economy, onshore wind generated nearly £2.5bn, with offshore wind and hydropower both supporting more than £1.1bn of output.

The renewable energy sector is not currently defined in national statistics published by either the UK or Scottish governments, so the size of the sector has been estimated using data published by the Office for National Statistics.

Renewables bosses are calling on the UK and devolved governments to improve the data available in time for the 2023 report.

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Claire Mack, chief executive at Scottish Renewables, said: “The renewable energy sector in Scotland continues to go from strength to strength and this report from the Fraser of Allander Institute gives us an encouraging sign of how much the Scottish economy is benefiting from the work our members are doing as we transition to a fossil fuel free future.

“As an industry we want to demonstrate how we are adding to the UK and Scottish economy and we want to be able to track how well we are progressing with the transition to a cleaner, cheaper and more resilient energy system in the UK.

"We urgently need much more robust data collection to understand how the renewable energy industry is performing and evolving across the UK.

“Scottish Renewables urges the UK and Scottish governments to develop stronger data on the renewable energy sector. This will support transparency and accountability for government and industry economic and environmental targets.”

James Black, fellow at the Fraser of Allander Institute at the University of Strathclyde, said: "This report demonstrates the significant contribution that renewables make to Scotland's economy.

"While the industry clearly plays a critical role in progress towards net-zero targets, it also provides many economic opportunities for Scotland. These opportunities include the potential for technological development, new export markets, and prosperity for rural parts of Scotland that may otherwise be economically left behind.

"However, opportunities do not provide prosperity in themselves. To ensure that Scotland makes the most of its renewable potential it is important that government and industry can adequately measure whether progress is being made."