RenewableUK Urges UK Leaders To Embrace £900m Wind Sector
Onshore wind added more than £900m to the UK economy in 2014, new research has shown. But this economic activity is at risk after the general election on 7th May.
That is the warning from trade body RenewableUK, which published a report by BIGGAR Economics about the contribution of onshore wind to the UK economy. It is a timely report, as there is set to be wrangling over policy between potential coalition partners after next week’s vote. Some of the parties may hate wind power, but will they want to kill a growing industry that supports jobs?
The ‘Onshore Wind: Economic Impacts In 2014’ report said 69% of total spending on onshore wind farms in the UK stays in the nation, including 98% of spending on developing a project and 87% of spending on operations and maintenance. Of construction spending, only 48% remains in the UK because most developers have to get their turbines from suppliers based in mainland Europe.
However, even in that case, not all of that remaining 52% of construction spending is lost from the UK, as those turbine manufacturers will often use parts from UK companies. Renewable UK said this is a success story that is often ignored by parties including the Conservatives and UKIP.
Maria McCaffrey, chief executive at RenewableUK, said the contribution of onshore wind to the UK economy has grown by two-thirds over the last two years, which is a rise of £358m.
“The industry is helping to propel Britain to a brighter, cleaner and more secure future. Onshore wind is already the lowest cost of all low-carbon options, and is set to become the least costly form of all electricity within the next five years,”she said.
“Despite these facts, onshore wind projects are under threat from misguided Tory and UKIP policies aimed at stifling their development, blatantly disregarding rational economic evidence and consistently high levels of public support.”
If wind makes such a contribution with hostile policies, imagine what it could do with a supportive government. This is vital evidence, although it will be months before we see whether it makes a difference to the policies of the coalition government in power from May.