Scots take onshore lead
Scotland is taking the lead in onshore wind, while England is lagging behind and missing out on some of the economic benefits the industry brings, according to RenewableUK’s latest annual report.
However, the ‘Wind Energy in the UK’ report said that England is racing ahead in the offshore wind sector.
It noted that over 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 (£211m) for the UK overall than England, Wales and Nothern Ireland combined.
Total UK onshore wind turnover from capital spend in 2014/15 was £402m.
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, R-UK said.
In contrast, it said 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 1.4GW constructed in English waters in 2014/15.
Scottish offshore wind saw success in 2014/15 in securing financial support – new contracts for difference – from Government, and 2.3GW of capacity consented in 2014/2015.
However, this was still in contrast to the 4.9GW of new capacity consented in England last year, R-UK said.
Approximately £1.25bn was invested directly into the UK because of wind energy in 2014/15; a £402m turnover for UK companies involved in onshore wind and £840m spent in the UK in offshore wind.
The report said more than 30,500 people in Britain depend on the wind industry for their livelihoods, with 15,500 direct and 15,078 indirect jobs.
In a survey for the report, 36% of R-UK members 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. Some 42% expected to decrease investment.
Nearly 90% of companies said government policy has become less favourable to renewables, compared with only 23% in 2011.
R-UK chief executive Maria McCaffery said: “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.”
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