The long-term economic benefits of offshore wind projects could have been underestimated by developers, according to a study.
In a report focused on Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm in Scotland, academics from Oxford Brookes University found that job creation linked to the project was higher than originally expected.
Operations and maintenance activities are expected to lead to the creation of between 40 - 50 full time equivalent jobs each year, through locally based contracts with suppliers and spending within the local community.
Over its lifespan that could lead to up to 1,000 jobs compared to the 660 predicted during the project’s early development. In total the Vattenfall project is set to generate over £100 million in benefits over the next 20 years.
The findings will help develop best practice for assessing the economic implications and opportunities arising from the growth of the offshore wind energy industry.
Professor John Glasson, research lead for the Oxford Brookes University team, added:
“The impacts of offshore wind farms on the human environment, and especially on local and regional communities adjacent to such projects, is an under-researched area. Such communities are often suffering greatly from the decline in traditional industries, such as shipbuilding, fishing and tourism."
“There is a need for adequate planning and assessment tools for the key stakeholders – developers, consultancies, local, regional and national governments, development agencies and the general public.”