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UK could gain £6.7 billion, create 150,000 jobs by boosting wind power

Date
17 March 2014
UK could gain £6.7 billion, create 150,000 jobs by boosting wind power

LONDON: Britain has the potential to gain £6.7 billion (US $11.1 billion) per year and create 150,000 jobs by 2020 through greater deployment of renewable energy, a report by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (OREC) has found.

The UK organization which supports the commercialization of offshore wind, wave and tidal technologies, came to its conclusion by examining supply chain data from BVG Associates and analysis from the Fraser of Allander Institute under two distinct scenarios.

OREC first explored what the gains to the UK would be under a ‘gradual growth path’ of 8 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2020. Under this model the Gross Value Added (GVA) would stand at £2.3 billion (US$3.8 billion) in 2020, with over 11,000 directly related positions created and 50,000 jobs supported in total.

However, if the country pursued a more ambitious strategy and committed to 15 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2020, the economy would gain almost £6.7 billion, with over 150,000 jobs in total created.

Indeed, this ‘accelerated growth’ model predicts that the number of ‘direct jobs’ would be 34,000, an increase of 25,500 on 2013 levels.

At present the UK has more than double the installed offshore wind capacity of any other country, but for the ‘accelerated growth’ model to be realized it would require a number of public sector interventions.

The UK government has set a 2020 target of generating 15% of Britain’s energy from renewables, and currently the 531 UK wind farms provide 7.5% of the nation's electricity. 

Chief executive of ORE, Andrew Jamieson noted: "We have the industrial base, research capability, regulatory framework and supply chain to continue to prosper and lead. This report clearly demonstrates the significant potential economic value of offshore renewables and why it is worth the investment now to develop and grow sustainable industries delivering energy from our offshore natural resources."

Separately, a recent study from Imperial College London found that wind turbines are capable of generating energy over a 25 year period, much longer than was previously believed. The academics argued that as modern turbines are more efficient than earlier models, it is highly likely that turbines will have a longer lifespan in the future.

Image: Flickr/ Andy S-D

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Wind turbines can last for a quarter of a century, UK study proves

By Alana Ryan

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