A new analysis has found that the 450 megawatt Neart Na Gaoithe Offshore Wind Farm will contribute an estimated £827 million to Scotland’s national GDP.
The Neart Na Gaoithe Offshore Wind Farm has been at the center of a long-running legal battle for over a year now, finding itself pitted against the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), which claims that the 450 megawatt (MW) offshore wind farm will have a detrimental impact on migratory seabirds. While the courts recently gave the go-ahead for the project to move forward, the RSPB has nevertheless taken the issue to the country’s Supreme Courts.
Within a day of the RSPB announcing that it would continue its legal battle, the NnG Offshore Wind Farm Coalition was formed, representing organisations and companies that support the development of the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) and have a stake in its construction. Specifically, the Coalition is concerned that the 600 jobs and £2 billion in investment will be put at risk if the RSPB continue its fight.
As if to further hammer home the importance of the NnG project, a new analysis was published this week by the Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) at the University of Strathclyde which concluded that during the project’s capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operating expenditure (OPEX) phase the Neart Na Gaoithe Offshore Wind Farm will contribute £827 million towards Scotland’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
The CAPEX for the project is expected to be £2 billion according to the FAI analysis, which was commissioned by the project’s developer, Mainstream Renewable Power — of which £510 million will be spent in Scotland. Meanwhile, across the 25-year operational lifespan of the project, its OPEX is estimated to be in the range of £1.7 billion — with around £610 million of it spent in Scotland.
When it comes to employment figures, the NnG offshore wind farm is expected to be able to support 8,000 person-years of employment in Scotland through the CAPEX phase — primarily driven by procurement of jackets and piles from within Scotland — and a further 5,900 person-years of employment through its OPEX phase — driven by the expectation that around half of the maintenance for the project site will be procured within Scotland.
All told, therefore, the Neart Na Gaoithe Offshore Wind Farm is expected to drive £475 million to the Scottish economy during its CAPEX phase and another £352 million through the 25-year OPEX period.
“These new figures show the huge potential offshore wind offers to Scotland’s economy, in addition to the key role it has in tackling climate change,” said Jenny Hogan, Director of Policy at Scottish Renewables in response to the FAI analysis. “News this week of another study which showed the job creation potential of the Moray East wind farm off Caithness is also to be welcomed.
“Offshore wind can make a major contribution to meeting Scotland’s climate targets, allowing us to produce clean energy from the enormous resource we have available.”