Wind boost to region's GDP, says Scotland

Feb. 21, 2013 at 7:29 AM

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Embracing the potential for offshore wind could raise the British gross domestic product by nearly 1 percent, the Scottish energy minister said Thursday.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing points to analysis from Cambridge Econometrics that says as much as $30 billion -- 0.8 percent -- would be added to British GDP by 2020 if offshore wind energy is put at the top of the British low-carbon agenda.

Ewing said he was concerned about mixed messages from London in terms of long-term energy objectives. He said that, beyond 2020, there was uncertainty in the low-carbon market while countries like Germany are setting goals for 2030.

"Offshore wind has reached a watershed," he said in a statement. "The industry has enormous potential and to realize this potential it is essential that investors have confidence."

British Energy Secretary Ed Davey signed off on plans this week to add up to 17 turbines to the Kentish Flats offshore wind farm. The extension could generate enough energy to meet the annual electricity demands of 20,000 households.

Davey said London remains committed to a goal of getting 30 percent of the country's electricity generated by renewable resources by 2020. The British government, however, has pressed for more work in North Sea oil while lifting an earlier moratorium on the development of shale natural gas reserves.

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