Offshore Renewables Resource and Development - South West Economic Impact Assessment Report
The anticipated Offshore Renewables Resource and Development – South West Economic Impact Assessment Report was released in early 2011, detailing the potential in the region for FTE jobs and GVA from offshore wind, tidal stream and wave energy.
The technical report of the ORRAD project concluded that the south west is capable of supporting 9.2 GW of offshore renewables, of which 6.9 GW was offshore wind, 1.24 GW from wave and 1.08 GW from tidal stream, by 2035.
If levels of capacity are achieved this could mean £3.5bn in capital expenditure and £5bn in operational expenditure within the south west, resulting in a direct GVA of £4.8bn.
The number of full time equivalent employees has been estimated at 5750 jobs on average between 2015 and 2030.
However, this amount of economic activity will only be reached if south west companies are integral in the supply chain for offshore wind, wave and tidal stream projects. This includes the two round three offshore wind projects located in the area.
The report also notes that, due to the immediate grid capacity, the region is primed for a licensing round for wave and tidal energy, similar to those occurring in the Pentland Firth in Scotland.
There are a few uncertainties with regards to the potential long term economic activity. The report considers the potential expenditure if floating wind turbines were placed in the Western Approaches, off the coast of the south west peninsula. This could add a significant amount of economic activity but is dependent on upgrades to the current grid infrastructure. Similarly, opportunities for tidal stream deployment in the Severn channel are 'obscured by uncertainties around private sector delivery of a Severn barrage project'.
With the demise of the SWRDA, it will fall on the Local Enterprise Partnerships, working with business and organisations such as Regen SW, to encourage the correct framework and infrastructure to achieve these potential capacities and reap the benefits.