Major new Cebr report on the economic benefits of Offshore Wind for the UK published.




12 June 2012



The Centre for Economics and Business Research, commissioned by Mainstream Renewable Power, reveals Offshore Wind will more than pay for itself in future and reap rich rewards in terms of jobs and UK GDP. The Cebr report finds:

  • Offshore wind sector to boost UK GDP by 0.2% by 2015 and by 0.4% by 2020.
  • Potential for UK Offshore wind sector to create 45,000 jobs by 2015, over 97,000 jobs by 2020 and 173,000 jobs by 2030.
  • By 2030 with a £18.8 billion boost in net exports offshore wind could plug 75% of the UK’s current balance of trade deficit”.


(Dublin 12 June 2012) – Mainstream Renewable Power, the global renewable energy company, today announces the publication by London’s Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) of a major new report into the economic impact of the UK’s offshore wind sector out to 2030.[1] The Report has been published to coincide with the first ever Global Offshore Wind conference being held in London. Two years ago, the Offshore Valuation Group measured the value of the UK’s offshore renewable energy resource[2] and concluded that, by 2050 – by harnessing less than a third of that resource – the UK could generate the electricity equivalent of 1bn barrels of oil a year, reduce its COemissions by 1bn tonnes and create over 145,000 new jobs. This new June 2012 Cebr/MRP report builds on that work by exploring the impact of planned investment in offshore wind electricity generating capacity in the UK. It concludes that that investment can be expected:

  • By 2015 to increase UK GDP by 0.2%, and create over 45,000 full time jobs, delivering employment and economic growth at a time of economic fragility.
  • By 2020, to double that GDP contribution to 0.4%, and the number of people employed to over 97,000.
  • By 2030 to triple that GDP contribution to 0.6%, and sustain 173,000 jobs. These benefits will accrue from pursuing current build out rates of offshore wind. A more aggressive, but achievable, approach could see an annual 1% uplift to GDP, and the creation of up to 215,000 jobs, and in addition, the sector could deliver an increase in net exports of £22.5bnsufficient to almost entirely plug the UK’s current balance of trade deficit.

Furthermore, a foreign trade multiplier (FTM) analysis of the impact of increasing levels of offshore wind investments and exports leads Cebr to contend that significant multiplier impacts can be expected to derive from investment in offshore wind. For instance, while Cebr predicts that by 2020, under its Accelerated Growth scenario, investment in offshore wind will generate £8.4 billion of Gross Value Add (GVA) to the UK economy, the application of their FTM model suggests that this contribution could rise to £10.5 billion. These differences are even more marked by 2030, when the estimated difference in impact – between that suggested by the domestic and FTM multipliers – is (for employment) three times the difference estimated for 2020. Commenting, Eddie O’Connor, CEO of Mainstream Renewable Power said “The “Value of Offshore Wind” to the UK is truly significant. Cebr shows that the net economic benefit to UK plc from investment in offshore wind is considerable. The foreign trade multiplier effect is of particular interest to a sector which has the potential to supply a global market. By helping the UK reduce fossil fuel imports, and by creating a new industry, offshore wind will create jobs, assist in balancing the trade deficit and boost GDP at a time of economic uncertainty. “Later this year we will publish a companion paper which will show that offshore wind is a very attractive investment to include in a diversified, low carbon generation resource portfolio.  Including a substantial amount of offshore wind will help in the achievement of the government’s long-term goals to decarbonise the UK’s electricity sector by lowering risk and cost to UK consumers. “We have embarked on a once off transition to a sustainable economy. All forms of renewable energy, from solar energy to tidal energy, will contribute to delivering this transition in the UK. But offshore wind provides this country with a clear global comparative advantage, particularly when the UK government and industry will this week publish their strategy to reduce the cost of offshore wind to £100/MWh by 2020. Cebr’s findings underline the importance of that strategy, and the very significant potential economic benefit that this sector will deliver to the UK.” Oliver Hogan, Head of Microeconomics at Cebr and principal author of the report said: “The current economic circumstances and the competitive challenges facing the UK highlight the importance of taking actions to improve the country’s trade balance.  Such actions, by acting directly on the factor that is constraining growth, can be expected to have particularly important foreign trade multiplier impacts. “It is Cebr’s contention that, given the positive impacts on the UK’s balance of trade outlined in our report, these significant multiplier impacts can be expected to derive from investment in offshore wind.”

Ends About Mainstream Renewable Power Mainstream Renewable Power was founded by Eddie O’Connor in 2008 to develop wind and solar plant globally. The company has a global development portfolio of over 12,000MW both onshore and offshore across four continents. Mainstream is Europe’s leading offshore wind developer with 5,420MW over three projects in Scotland, England and Germany. The company is developing the 450 MW Neart na Gaiothe offshore wind project in Scotland, and the 4,000MW Hornsea Zone off the east of England with its joint venture partner Siemens Project Ventures. It was awarded the rights to develop the Zone by The Crown Estate in December 2009 and plans to start construction in 2015. Mainstream is actively developing wind and solar plants onshore in the US, Canada, Chile and South Africa.    

About Cebr The Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) is an independent consultancy which advises some of the world’s largest companies.  Cebr’s reputation for insightful economic analysis, award-winning forecasting and decisive business advice is based on innovative research by a renowned team of macro- and micro- economists. Since its foundation in 1993 by former CBI and IBM Chief Economist, Professor Douglas McWilliams, Cebr has been ‘making business sense’ by applying theoretical economics backed by quantitative evidence to real world decisions for private sector firms and public sector organisations.  Cebr provides analysis, forecasts and strategic advice to major multinationals, financial institutions, government departments, charities and trade bodies. Cebr is a leading independent commercial economics consultancy with particular strengths in macroeconomic and market forecasting and economic impact assessments.


Cebr is a leading independent commercial economics consultancy with particular strengths in macroeconomic and market forecasting. For more information on the contents of the report, please contact:  

Oliver Hogan, Cebr Head of Microeconomics

020 7324 2842

07525 287114

[email protected]


Media Relations, Mainstream Renewable Power Patrick d’Ancona/Elly Williamson +44 (0)20 7920 2339


[1] “The macroeconomic benefits of investment in offshore wind: A scenario-based assessment of the economic impacts on the UK of alternative realisations of offshore wind capacity”, Cebr, June 2012.
[2] The Offshore Valuation Offshore Valuation Group 2010

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