Economic Activity Supported by Offshore Wind : a Hypothetical Extraction Study

Allan, Grant and Connolly, Kevin and McGregor, Peter and Ross, Andrew (2019) Economic Activity Supported by Offshore Wind : a Hypothetical Extraction Study. Discussion paper. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

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Given public investment in renewable energy technologies, it is important to understand the contribution these make to the economy. Various methods have been used to quantify impacts, such as job counts, surveys and measures based on economic statistics. Economic modelling approaches on the other hand appear to offer an ability to both provide metrics of interest to policy makers, and crucially an understanding of the activities which support that contribution. In this paper, we implement a “hypothetical extraction” of UK activities related to renewable electricity generation – specifically focusing on offshore wind – to identify the contribution that they make to economic activity as well as job quality, and emissions. Undertaking the partial extraction of offshore wind from an aggregated IO table, and then subsequently from one in which we have separated out the offshore wind electricity sector, we highlight the value of more disaggregation and technology-specific detail in economic accounts. We find that a significant portion of activity supported by offshore wind is supported by expansions in capacity, in addition to the operation of existing offshore wind activity, giving policymakers important information on the likely path of economic impacts related to renewable energy activities.