Scotland’s onshore wind industry is pulling ahead of England’s, but England is focusing a lot of its attention on its offshore industry.
These are the key findings from a new report from the UK’s leading renewable energy trade association, RenewableUK, which published its annual Wind Energy in the UK report this week.
According to the report, 60% of UK onshore wind projects are now installed and operational inside Scotland, with the Scottish onshore wind industry now generating a higher annual turnover for the UK overall than England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (the remainder of the United Kingdom) combined. Specifically, over the 12 months covered by the report (July 2014 through to June 2015), 50% of all construction activity and 70% of all new consents were in Scotland, while only 25% of capacity and less than 10% of new consents were in England — the lowest consenting rate for the whole of the UK.
However, the offshore wind industry in the UK is still focused on England, with almost 1.4 GW of offshore wind constructed in English waters, and another 4.9 GW of new capacity consented in England over the past year — compared to Scotland’s 2.3 GW consented.
The UK wind energy industry received investment of £1.25 billion over the period of the study, while more than 30,500 people in Britain depend on the wind industry for their livelihoods, with 15,500 direct and 15,078 indirect jobs.
“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,” said RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Maria McCaffery.
“As this report notes, the Government has yet to set out its long term plan for energy policy. Ministers have stated that their objective is cutting carbon at the lowest cost to consumers, so it is difficult to understand why they are undermining investor confidence in the energy sector as a whole by announcing sudden unexpected changes in policy. This is especially true regarding onshore wind which is the lowest cost clean technology and is set to be cheaper than new gas by 2020, so it deserves to retain its place in our energy mix rather than being excluded from it.”