A report published today reveals the positive economic impact of wind turbines in Northern Ireland.

Powering A Green Recovery breaks down the £3.1 billion investment onshore wind could generate in Northern Ireland by 2030 if ambitious targets are set, and met.

Commisioned by RenewableNI, the voice of Northern Ireland’s electricity industry, the predicted 2030 figures are based on the 2,500 MW onshore wind capacity outlined in SONI’s Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios.

During this decade, the sector will boost the economy with:

  • a total GVA of £3.1bn;
  • £195m rates contribution;
  • £63m in labour income per year by 2030;
  • over £31m invested in community benefit schemes.

In predominantly rural locations, wind farms help bring new investment, economic activity and employment throughout the region.

Through onshore wind’s direct and indirect activities and employment, the sector contributed £28 million in wages this year.  This will increase over the decade with up to 1,000 additional jobs being created by 2030.

Rural communities are further boosted by the rates contribution and community benefit schemes created by wind farms.

In 2021, £15m was paid in rates by onshore wind in Northern Ireland, reaching the proposed targets would generate £195million across the decade.

Accounting for more than 10%-15% of a council’s total rates income, wind farms provide a stable revenue source over a long period.  This allows councils to make plans for the decade ahead, investing in the community.

The onshore wind sector’s investment in community benefit schemes will bring a further £4.2m per year to rural areas by 2030.  Explaining community benefit, Head of RenewableNI, Steven Agnew said:

“While the environmental benefits of onshore wind, such as lower emissions and sustainability are well known, there is much less awareness of the social impact.

“The wind industry is supporting local communities, investing in rural Northern Ireland and providing for the future energy demand.  RenewableNI members donated £2.4m to community benefit schemes this year. From supporting small PTA projects and helping deliver food during lockdown, onshore wind can make a big difference to small projects.  There are clear rewards for local communities that host wind farms.

“Renewable electricity can power a green economic recovery for Northern Ireland, especially in rural communities, with guaranteed stable employment.

Powering a Green Economy makes it clear that setting an Energy Strategy with ambitious goals is vital for Northern Ireland’s economic growth as well as limiting the climate crisis.”

Powering a Green Recovery is available to read on the RenewableNI policy page.

ENDS.

Notes to Editors

Baseline local authority contributions are greater than £2 million in a number of counties eg

  • Mid Ulster £4.1m rising to £5.3;
  • Fermanagh & Omagh, £2.1m rising to £4.3;
  • Mid & East Antrim £2.9 rising to £4.1;
  • Newry, Mourne & Down; £3.5 rising to £2.6.
  • Causeway Coast & Glens will see an increase of £3.1m to £4.6.

In addition to the financial gains from onshore wind’s direct activities,  the industry supports indirect employment in particular through capital activities, such as in legal and financial advisory roles and in firms involved in storage, electrical supply, related services, and further employment, through spend by direct employees in local shops.