United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Neart na Gaoithe worth £827m to Scotland

UK: Mainstream Renewable Power's 448MW Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) offshore wind project could benefit the Scottish economy by approximately £827 million (€891 million) over the lifetime of the project.

Neart na Gaoithe project site off Scotland's east coast
Neart na Gaoithe project site off Scotland's east coast

According to new analysis by the University of Strathclyde's Fraser of Allander Institute, during the Capex phase of the project, NnG would add roughly £475 million (€512 million) to Scotland's gross domestic product (GDP), with a further £352 million (€379 million) contributed during the Opex period.

The site would also provide 13,900 person-years of employment over its lifetime –equating to roughly 2,000 jobs during construction and 236 in the operation phase.

"Our study shows that, based on information provided to us about the expected size of this project and the anticipated spend within Scotland, there could be an impact on the Scottish economy over the 30-year lifetime of this project equivalent to 0.6% of Scottish GDP in 2016," said Fraser of Allander Institute research affiliate Stuart McIntyre.

The NnG project, along with three other offshore wind sites, are embroiled in a long-running court battle with wildlife charity, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

RSPB claims the projects would adversely harm some migratory bird species and argues the Scottish government did not fully evaluate the impact on wildlife. In August, RSBP took its request to the UK Supreme Court. 

Also this month, developer Mainstream and some of the supply chain set to work on the 448MW site set up the Neart na Gaoithe Coalition to promote the benefits of the project in a bid to convince RSPB to drop its court action.

"The study confirms that NnG will support the creation or retention of large numbers of high skilled, high quality jobs in Scotland during construction and its 25-year operational lifetime," said Mainstream COO Andy Kinsella.

"The NnG Offshore Wind Farm Coalition, launched this month, has called on RSPB Scotland to abandon its legal action challenging this project and three others.

"Today's report shows the full extent of the economic benefit to Scotland put at risk by this ongoing action. I would ask RSPB Scotland to listen to this call and allow the project to move forward into construction," Kinsella added.

Responding to the report, trade body Scottish Renewables' director of policy, Jenny Hogan, added: "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.

"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."

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