Scotland takes lion’s share of onshore UK wind energy investments, England forges ahead offshore, and 90% of renewable industry gives thumbs-down to Govt. subsidy cuts

windScotland is taking the lead in deploying onshore wind in the UK – while England lags behind and is therefore missing out on some of the economic benefits that the onshore wind industry brings.

However, England is racing ahead in the UK offshore wind sector. 

The latest annual report from Renewables UK also shows that more than 60% of UK onshore wind projects are now installed and operational in Scotland, and that Scottish onshore wind is now generating a higher annual turnover (£211 million) for the UK overall than England, Wales and Northern Ireland combined, as the total UK onshore wind turnover from capital spend in 2014/15 was £402 million.

During the 12 months covered by the report (July 2014 – June 2015), half of all construction activity and over 70% of new consents were in Scotland.

In contrast, only 25% of capacity and less than 10% of new consents are in England – the lowest consenting rate in the UK.

The UK’s offshore wind sector remains focused in England, with almost 1.4 gigawatts of offshore wind constructed in English waters in 2014/15, meaning the benefits of construction and operation are being felt most in eastern England – such as Grimsby and Lowestoft.

Scottish offshore wind saw success in 2014/15 in securing financial support (in the form of new Contracts for Difference) from Government, and 2.3GW of capacity consented in 2014/15. However, this was still in contrast to the 4.9GW of new capacity consented in England last year.

Offshore wind general Govt picOverall, £1.25 billion was invested directly into the UK because of wind energy during the period; a £402 million turnover for UK companies involved in onshore wind and £840 million spent in the UK in offshore wind.

More than 30,500 people in Britain depend on the wind industry for their livelihoods, with 15,500 direct and 15,078 indirect jobs.

Meanwhile, 36% companies surveyed said they expected to grow by 10% or more over the next 18 months.

However, 73% described the investment climate as less favourable than the previous 18 months (up from 48% the previous year), and 42% expected to decrease investment.

 

Nearly 90% of companies said Government policy has become less favourable to renewables, compared to only 23% in 2011. 

Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive, Renewable UK, commented: “We hope this report will serve as a wake-up call to Government, proving that the wind industry is delivering a substantial amount of clean power, investment and jobs to Britain – despite mixed messages from Ministers.

“The Government has yet to set out its long term plan for energy policy. Ministers have stated that their objective is cutting carbon at the lowest cost to consumers, so it is difficult to understand why they are undermining investor confidence in the energy sector as a whole by announcing sudden unexpected changes in policy.”

Pixie Energy

Pixie logo Pixie Energy is an incubator and a facilitator of strategic research and project work, focusing on energy regulation, policy and markets at the local and national level. Find out more about Pixie Energy here.

Local Energy Matters: Scotland

Local Energy Matters: Scotland is a free-to-download brochure with a focus on energy tariffs in the two Scottish electricity distribution regions, as well news on local energy and low-carbon schemes.

Previous editions can be download here.

Scottish energy market overview

You can read an overview of the Scottish energy market here.

Scottish Government energy feed