The development, construction and 25-year lifetime operation of Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm is expected to generate £2.4bn of value for the UK economy, of which £1.05bn gross value added (GVA) is expected to be in Scotland, new independent analysis has found.
The 84 turbine, 588MW Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited project – the fourth largest offshore wind farm in the world – was completed last month, following 10 years of development and construction. Situated 13km off the coast of Caithness in the North Sea, it will generate enough green energy to power 450,000 homes every year.
Beatrice was developed by Scottish-headquartered energy firm, SSE Renewables (40%), with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (35%) and Red Rock Power Limited (25%).
According to the new analysis by BiGGAR Economics, commissioned by the joint venture partners, and published today in a report by SSE Renewables, Beatrice contributed £460m to the Scottish economy during the development and construction phases, as part of a total £1.3bn contribution to the wider UK economy. Now beginning its 25-year operational phase, Beatrice’s economic benefit is set to be even greater, with the project expected to add £72m of value to the UK economy on average every year, of which £34m will be in Scotland.
The analysis also found that during development and construction, the project provided 19,110 years of employment in the UK of which 7,180 were in Scotland. Over the 25-year operational life of the wind farm, the high level of investment in the UK and Scotland during this period is expected to result in 800 jobs in the UK on average each year, of which 370 are expected to be in Scotland.
Jim Smith, Managing Director of lead development partner SSE Renewables said: “The successful commissioning of Beatrice marks the end of a 10-year journey. In that time thousands of people have, directly and indirectly, contributed to the development and construction of this world-class renewable generation site.
“Beatrice delivers transformative socio-economic benefits to the UK, Scotland and to the regions, not just during construction but for decades to come. This is borne out in the publication today of an important independent analysis which demonstrates that Beatrice will deliver a multi-billion pound boost to the UK economy over its full lifetime, from initial development to the end of its operational life.
“Our experience at Beatrice also provides learnings which SSE Renewables will apply to maximise the expected socio-economic benefits from our 7GW pipeline of future offshore wind projects.”
The analysis also looks at direct investment into UK and Scottish businesses. Around £2.5bn was invested in the development and construction of Beatrice, making it the largest private sector investment in Scottish history. This expenditure was found to amount to 24% Scottish content, with total UK content at 49%. Over the 25-year operational life of Beatrice, an estimated £2.7bn will be spent on the operation and maintenance of the wind farm. This will bring the estimated lifetime UK content up to 62% for the UK as a whole, and 39% lifetime content for Scotland.
Jim Smith concluded: “Beatrice has been a mammoth project, not just for SSE Renewables and our project partners, but also for Scotland and the UK as a whole.
“The project has already brought significant jobs and economic activity to the UK and Scotland through development and construction, and now it’s clear that Beatrice will bring an even greater contribution to the UK and Scottish economies throughout its operational phase.”
Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “This study is very helpful in measuring how such a significant offshore wind project has benefited the Scottish economy, and to help us understand the potential for further enhancing the use of Scottish supply chain content for future projects, as we work with our supply chain to fulfil the UK Offshore Wind Sector Deal. To see that the lifetime economic impact of the project will exceed £1.0 billion for the Scottish economy is very encouraging. The positive impacts can already be seen in terms of the regeneration of Wick harbour, while Scottish fabricators and suppliers have played a significant role in the construction phase too.
“We know that the potential for bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind deployment in Scotland is huge, and the Scottish Government and our agencies are working to ensure that we maximise our renewable energy resources, whilst protecting our invaluable marine environment.
“We will continue to work with industry to ensure that we maximise the economic impact from Beatrice itself, and as we embark on a significant pipeline of consented projects and look to future licensing rounds, we will seek to fully exploit the exciting, wider offshore wind sector opportunity that presents to the Scottish economy.”
RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Hugh McNeal said: “It’s great to see such a wide range of UK companies winning contracts to work on this multi-billion pound project. Beatrice represents a major investment by SSE and its partners in vital new energy infrastructure for this country. The UK’s offshore wind supply chain already extends to every part of the county and will continue to grow in the years ahead. The landmark Sector Deal announced by industry and government earlier this year builds on our nation’s success as the global leader in offshore wind, with the industry investing up to £250m to develop the UK offshore wind supply chain between now and 2030. As a key part of this, the industry has launched a new initiative, the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership, which will increase the competitiveness of our supply chain, helping to drive up the level of UK content in innovative offshore wind projects at home and abroad even higher in the years ahead”.