RenewableUK Cymru are preparing the first ever professional evaluation of the economic benefits of the wind energy sector in Wales.
Draft results show that the industry currently contributes more than £158 million to the Welsh economy every year – considerably greater than fishing and forestry – according to The Economic Value of Wind to Wales – A Survey. But almost half the businesses who responded to the survey said they expected turnover to grow by up to 20% by 2012.
The benefits in rural areas are set to be particularly impressive, according to the draft results, and there is conclusive evidence that the sector offers significant employment opportunities, both highly skilled and highly waged. The average wage in the sector is now £44,000 per annum.
“The results of this survey clearly demonstrate, once and for all, the true value of the wind energy sector in Wales,” said Llywelyn Rhys, Head of RenewableUK Cymru. “The sector is crucial to our economy, particularly in its contribution within rural areas.
“It is also a sector that has the potential to grow rapidly in the next 10 years, especially since the Welsh Assembly Government has just increased its sustainable energy aspirations. Given that we are recovering from a crippling recession, that growth would be particularly welcome.”
He added: “It is important to remember that in the short- to medium-term, it will be wind energy, in particular onshore wind, which will provide the main thrust to increasing our renewable energy capacity.”
The survey is conducted by Arad Consulting on behalf of Renewable UK Cymru, and will be discussed in depth at RenewableUK Cymru’s annual conference on Wednesday 26th May, at the Mercure Holland House Hotel, in Cardiff.
Jane Davidson AM, the Welsh Assembly Government Minister for the Environment, Sustainability and Housing, will deliver a keynote speech. She is expected to talk in depth about the Welsh Government’s recently published Energy Policy Statement, which says Wales should aim to generate up to twice as much electricity as it currently uses, from renewables such as wind and marine resources.
RenewableUK Cymru is the Welsh arm of RenewableUK (formerly BWEA), the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with 565 corporate members, RenewableUK is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK.