Scotland to gain £7 billion economic benefit from onshore wind

Wind farm thumbs_whitelee-wind-farm-from-the-airBy DARA BUTTERFIELD

Scotland will gain over £7 billion of economic benefit from its local onshore wind industry, with £249 million going directly to  local communities, according to new figures released by RenewableUK.

Its report states that Scotland is the leading country for onshore wind within the UK –  having just over 4,918 megawatts of onshore wind installed – enough to power over 2.6 million homes. The report claims that this capacity will lead to over £7 billion worth of economic benefit to the country over the lifetime of its wind energy projects.

Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive, RenewableUK, said: “This report also shows that onshore wind really does bring benefits to the UK – with £7 in every £10 spent on projects invested in the UK.

“Onshore wind powers local economies, bringing £199 million of investment into local areas where communities host wind farms, and creating jobs across the supply chain.

“The industry is helping to propel Britain to a brighter, cleaner future – onshore wind is already the lowest cost of all low carbon options, with potential to be the least cost form of electricity within the next five years.

The figures form part of a report, undertaken by BiGGAR Economics – a Scottish-based specialist consultancy –  for RenewableUK, which shows that the economic benefits of developing onshore wind are strongly felt across the UK, with the onshore wind industry generating a total £906 million in gross value added (GVA) revenue to the UK economy in 2014 alone.

Since the beginning of 2012, GVA has risen by £358 million (up 65%) – revealing the increasing contribution that the onshore wind industry and its supply chain makes to the UK economy.

McCaffery continued: “Yet onshore wind farms are under threat from misguided Tory and UKIP policies aimed at stifling their development, despite being the rational economic choice and having consistently high levels of public support.”

MSP Murdo Fraser, Scottish Conservative energy spokesman, responded saying: “Well we have had a Conservative-led government for the last five years and Renewable UK’s figures show that we haven’t held back the industry back.

“Wind energy has a part to play in Scotland’s power mix, but it is expensive and we must remember the impact on customers’ bills.”

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