Report claims offshore wind is able to hammer UK trade deficit

Posted on 12 Jun 2012

A report, carried out by The Centre for Economics & Business Research, suggests that a more enthusiastic approach to investment in offshore wind could create 215,000 jobs and increase net exports by around £22.5bn.

The Centre for Economics & Business Research (CEBR) report also argues that better and more plentiful investment in the sector could create an annual 1% uplift to the UK’s GDP.

Commissioners of the report, Mainstream Renewable Power, who have offices in Dublin and Glasgow have proposed plans to build a 450 megawatt offshore wind farm off the Fife coast.

Currently, investment in the sector is expected to create around 45,000 jobs by 2015, over 97,000 by 2020 and roughly 173,000 by 2030. As well as creating jobs and increasing GDP, the potential rewards in terms of manufacturing and engineering expertise in the sector could have positive effects on international trade, and would help establish the UK as a worldwide centre for offshore wind power technology.

Audit, tax and advisory services provider KPMG recently offered its opinion that Scotland is a “world leader” in the renewable energy sector.

In the wake of the Japanese Tsunami and the subsequent meltdown of nuclear reactors, some are already using the report to champion offshore wind projects as an alternative to the planned nuclear power plants.

French energy giant EDF has tabled plans to build an unspecified number of nuclear power plants across the UK. Ian Marchant, chief executive of Perth-based utility group SSE, will today warn MPs that consumers will have to pay more for their electricity for many years ahead to fund subsidies to EDF.

Mr Marchant also attacked the Government’s Electricity Market Reform (EMR) initiative, saying that it merely made solar and wind power generation more expensive, and created more room for the nuclear power industry to flourish.

Marchant said that “[The] EMR is fixing a problem we do not have,” because of the decreasing price of gas, reduced electricity demand and extensions to the life of existing power plants.