During Robin Rigg’s first year of operation, 86% of the £9.4m spent by the wind farm's owner went to UK companies. Almost half (45%) of total UK spend was captured by firms in north-west England and Scotland. This suggests that the local economy benefitted by around £3.6m.
These are the headline conclusions of a groundbreaking study analysing the geographic impact of E.ON’s first year of operational expenditure on the 180MW offshore wind farm.
For the year to 30 April 2011, the study estimated that E.ON’s opex generated £15m in gross value added (GVA) for the UK economy and 183 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs.
Undertaken by BVG Associates, the study is the first to analyse the UK content of operations and maintenance (O&M) spending by an offshore wind operator. The findings may be used to support arguments that UK offshore wind projects benefit local and national economies, despite developers’ continued reliance on overseas suppliers during project construction.
An earlier study revealed a much lower proportion - 32% - of UK content during Robin Rigg’s construction phase.
BVG’s report also provides useful information about how much E.ON spent on different elements of the wind farm and which O&M items were most costly. The largest single opex category was fixed costs and overheads (45%), which include insurance, legal costs and charges for power transmission.
Turbine maintenance (34%) was the second-most expensive O&M category, with three quarters of this money captured by companies in north-west England, where the wind farm’s operational base is located.
The remaining three categories of O&M spend were: marine operations (12%), environmental services (5%) and balance of plant maintenance (4%). All of the approximately £470,000 spent on environmental services went to UK companies.