A new method to estimate the economic activity supported by offshore wind: a hypothetical extraction study for the United Kingdom

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Abstract

As well as their role in contributing towards emissions reductions targets, it is increasingly relevant for policymakers to understand the contribution that renewable energy technologies make to the economy. Various methods have been used to quantify impacts, such as job counts, surveys and measures based on economic statistics. Economic modelling approaches on the other hand appear to offer an ability to both provide metrics of interest to policymakers and crucially an understanding of the activities which support that contribution. In this paper, we implement a new method for estimating the activity supported by renewable energy activities; applying a ‘hypothetical extraction’ of offshore wind—to identify the contribution that such activities make to U.K. economic activity, job quality and national emissions. By undertaking the partial extraction of offshore wind from an aggregated input–output (IO) table and then subsequently from one in which we have separated out the offshore wind electricity sector, we highlight the value of more disaggregation and technology-specific detail in economic accounts. The results from our fullest extraction suggest that in 2010, offshore wind in the United Kingdom supported 10 240 jobs, with 9 in 10 of these jobs either medium or high skill, and contributed £780 million to gross domestic product (GDP). In addition, a significant portion of activity supported by offshore wind is attributable to expansions in capacity rather than operational activities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWind Energy
Early online date8 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • low carbon economy
  • industrial strategy
  • supply chain
  • offshore wind
  • economic impact
  • input-output analysis

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