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The Macroeconomic Benefits of Investment in Offshore Wind
A scenario‐based assessment of the economic impacts on the UK of
alternative realisations of offshore wind capacity
In 2010 the Offshore Valuation Group set out to measure the value of the UK’s offshore renewable energy resource. The Group concluded that, by harnessing less than a third of that resource, the UK could, by 2050:
• Generate the electricity equivalent of 1bn barrels of oil a year;
• Reduce its CO2 emissions by 1bn tonnes; and
• Create over 145,000 new jobs.
This report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) builds on that work by exploring the impact of planned investment in offshore wind electricity generation in the UK. It
concludes that that investment can be expected:
• By 2015, to increase UK GDP by 0.2%, and create over 45,000 full time jobs, delivering
employment and economic growth at a time of economic fragility.
• By 2020, to double that GDP contribution to 0.4%, and the number of people employed to
• By 2030, in addition to adding 0.6% GDP growth, and creating 173,000 jobs, the sector will deliver an increase in net exports of £18.8 billion, sufficient to fill nearly 75% of the UK’s current balance of trade deficit. These benefits will accrue from pursuing current moderate build out rates of offshore wind. A more aggressive, but achievable, approach could see an annual 1% uplift to GDP, the creation of over 200,000 jobs and an increase in net exports of £22.5 billion – almost enough to entirely plug the country’s balance of trade deficit.
At the request of Mainstream Renewable Power (Mainstream), Cebr has investigated the economic impact of investment in offshore wind capacity. The fruit of our lengthy investigation is contained within the pages of this report, and is summarised in this preamble. The assessment is scenariobased and produces different estimates of the expected impacts for different realisations of offshore wind capacity.