Analysis: Should the proposed wind farm get the green light? - Yes, says Joss Blamire
The reality is that renewable energy sources already generate more than 35 per cent of the electricity used in Scotland – more than the interim 2011 target of 31 per cent – while more than 11,000 people work in renewable energy.
We are an industry that, during an incredibly tough economic time, has managed to bring more than £3 billion of capital investment to the economy since 2009. What other industry can say they have actually expanded, created jobs and grown their supply chain during a time of economic recession?
The impact on consumer energy bills for supporting an industry that is delivering so much benefit is relatively small, with the largest generator, onshore wind, costing just £6 per year per household, according to UK government figures.
The industry has received support from all political parties, environmental groups, business leaders and the public, with a recent poll suggesting the majority of Scots (71 per cent) support the continued development of wind power as part of our energy mix.
Onshore wind currently provides more than half of our renewable electricity, but offshore wind has the potential to generate significantly more in the next chapter of the industry’s growth.
Offshore wind could deliver as many as 28,000 jobs and bring more than £7bn worth of investment to our economy. Not only that, but we have 40 years of expertise in traditional energy sources in the North-east and an emerging supply chain that can diversify many of their skills and products into this sector.
Finally, let’s not forget why we’re here; as a result of the increase in renewable energy generation, carbon emissions have been reduced by more than five million tonnes in Scotland.
It is by no means an overstatement to say that the eyes of the world are on Scotland as we push ever closer to achieving the ambition of becoming a global centre of excellence and we are already seeing the roots of that success begin to flourish with offshore wind and wave and tidal.
Announcements such as yesterday’s show the most exciting part of our story is that it’s just beginning.
• Joss Blamire is the policy manager for trade group Scottish Renewables.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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