Scotland 'could benefit from predicted 20,000 jobs boost due to circular economy revolution around offshore wind'

Scotland could capitalise on an additional 20,000 jobs that could be created across the UK due to a circular economy revolution around offshore wind, according to a new study.

The End of Life Materials Mapping for Offshore Wind in Scotland report, produced by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland, examines the sector up to 2050.

It sets out the “huge” supply-chain opportunity created by the volume of projected growth across Scotland, adding that if key projects in the pipeline prove successful, Scotland’s offshore wind capacity will reach almost 40 gigawatts by 2033.

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The report found that investment in a circular economy is essential to recycling wind turbines domestically and meet the target of 60 per cent UK content for future offshore wind developments. It also said offshore wind decommissioning in Scotland could generate up to 2.4 million tonnes of materials by 2050, while it is estimated that up to 492 turbines will be decommissioned, increasing by an additional 1,718 by 2065. However, it has also been calculated that the growth in offshore wind will require 14.7 million tonnes of steel, for example.

The study added that early estimates predict the creation of up to 20,000 jobs by 2030 with the development of a full UK circular-economy supply chain, including a wide variety of recycling processes, and it identified a 34 per cent carbon saving if new turbines are manufactured using recycled content.

Andrew Macdonald, director of offshore wind development and operations at ORE Catapult, said: “Collaboration between offshore wind and other sectors will be crucial to accelerating circular economy technologies and supply chains. It is an exciting prospect to take this forward with industry partners… and show how the wind turbine, the workhorse of the clean energy revolution, will take its next steps towards circularity.”

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, deemed the report “exciting”, adding: “With up to 90 per cent of a turbine potentially recyclable or reusable, this report makes a compelling case for a planned circular approach to the deployment and decommissioning of the offshore infrastructure… we can not only make considerable carbon savings, but boost our economy through substantial job-creation and development of new skills.”

The report found that investment in a circular economy is essential to recycling wind turbines domestically and meet the target of 60 per cent UK content for future offshore wind developments. Picture: EEEGR.

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