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Wales gains over £799 million of economic benefit from its local onshore wind industry, according to new figures released by RenewableUK. Of that, benefits to the value of £33 million go directly into the local community as a result of installed onshore wind capacity in the area.

Wales has an excellent natural resource and 559 megawatts (MW) of installed onshore wind. The region will receive a substantial £799 million in economic benefit from the installed onshore wind farms over their lifetime. This represents environmental benefits of 541,992 tonnes of CO2 reduced per year due to onshore wind installed in Wales alone.

Mid Wales has the highest installed onshore wind capacity in Wales, at just under 300MW. The next highest area is South Wales with 176MW of onshore wind capacity installed.

There are a number of firms active in the area ranging from independent onshore developers to component manufacturers and companies providing steels for wind turbines, including West Coast Energy, Jones Brothers, Prysmian and Dulas Ltd.

The figures form part of a report, undertaken by BiGGAR Economics for RenewableUK, which shows the economic benefits of developing onshore wind are strongly felt across the UK, with the onshore wind industry generating a total £906 million in gross value added (GVA) revenue to the UK economy in 2014 alone. Since the beginning of 2012, GVA has risen by £358 million (up 65%) – revealing the increasing contribution that the onshore wind industry and its supply chain makes to the UK economy.

The largest percentage of local spend comes at the operations and maintenance stage with 42% of the value of contracts (compared to 29% in 2011) being spent in the local area. On a wider level, almost half of the total spend is retained in the region in which a wind farm is located (48%), with this highest at the development stage (59%) and operation and maintenance (58%).

Dale Hart, Managing Director of Welsh developer Pennant Walters said: “We are committed to maximising and promoting local supply chain and employment opportunities and, on average, 27% of the economic benefits of onshore wind are enjoyed in the local authority area around each project.  It’s also gratifying to see the report show that local level of content has increased in each stage of wind farm development between 2011 and 2014, reflecting our industry’s commitment to ensure benefits are spent locally.”

David Clubb, Director of RenewableUK Cymru, said: “The benefits of onshore wind to Wales are clear to see – almost £800 million, of which £33 million goes directly into the local community, including creating jobs in the supply chain.  The industry is helping to propel Britain to a brighter, cleaner future – onshore wind is already the lowest cost of all low carbon options, with the potential to be the cheapest form of electricity within the next five years.

“Yet onshore wind farms are under threat from misguided Tory and UKIP policies aimed at stifling their development, despite being the rational economic choice and having consistency high levels of public support.”

You can view a copy of the report by clicking here