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Wind farm to boost GDP

Study reveals impact of Neart na Gaoithe

Andy KinsellaA proposed wind farm in the Forth Estuary will generate the equivalent of 0.6% of Scotland’s gross domestic product over its lifetime, according to a report published today.

After the completion of the new Queensferry Crossing,  the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) wind farm will be Scotland’s next major infrastructure project.

The report, by the Fraser of Allander Institute, was commissioned by Mainstream Renewable Power, developer of NnG, in order to evaluate and fully understand the project’s impact on the Scottish economy.

The highlights of the study are:

– The impact on Scottish GDP (in 2016 terms) is equivalent to 0.6% of the country’s onshore GDP, or £827.4m over the lifetime of the project

– Some £382m of additional activity will be generated in Scotland’s construction industries, with a further £440.2m in the services sector.

– 13,900 person years of employment will be supported by NnG over the course of its lifetime

– 8,000 person years during its four-year construction phase – equating to an average of 2,000 Scottish jobs for every year of construction

– 5,900 person years during its 25-year operational phase – equating to an average of 236 Scottish jobs for every year of operation.

Andy Kinsella (pictured), chief operating officer at Mainstream Renewable Power, said: “We have always known that NnG, as a large scale energy infrastructure project, is important for the Scottish economy.

“The results of the study show the full extent of NnG’s impact on the Scottish economy for the first time.

“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.”

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,” said Mr Kinsella.

“I would ask RSPB Scotland to listen to this call and allow the project to move forward into construction.

“In doing so, Scotland will reap both the economic and the climate change benefits of a green energy project capable of supplying the electricity needs of a city the size of Edinburgh while displacing 400,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum.”

Jenny Hogan, Director of Policy at Scottish Renewables, said: “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.

“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.”

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