Onshore Wind Energy

Wind turbines harness the energy of moving air to rotate the blades and generate electricity. Onshore wind refers to the turbines found on land, while offshore turbines are located out at sea, such as the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).

Onshore wind is one of the cheapest forms of electricity generation. Onshore wind farms in excess of 50MW generation are classified as National Development.

Interesting Facts

  • As of Q1 2023, Scotland has 9.3 GW of installed onshore wind capacity, enough to power the equivalent of over 5 million households.
  • As of 2020, onshore wind generated the highest proportion of electricity in Scotland, 21,788 GWh.
  • As of 2020, employment associated with onshore wind accounted for 10,115 jobs across Scotland.
  • As of 2020, onshore wind had the largest economic output of renewable energy with a total of £2,439,000 to the economy.


  • Onshore wind is currently the cheapest form of renewable energy available in the UK.
  • Onshore turbines can be built very quickly, going from the installaton phase to producing electricity to the grid in a matter of months.
  • There are over 7,000 onshore wind turbines installed in the UK.
  • If current growth momentum is sustained, wind power will produce enough electricity to meet one-third of global energy demands by 2050.
  • As the technology is improved turbines will become far more efficient, meaning the cost to produce the electricity will continue to fall.


  • Depending on the location and scale, wind farms typically take between 12 and 36 months to pay back the carbon created in their construction/installation.
  • The application and consenting process can take up to 7 years to be completed resulting in delays to the deployment of renewable electricity generation.
  • The deployment of renewable energy often occurs on the edges of the national grid network and often requires upgrades to the electrical transmission network, which can cause delays and add to the costs of projects.
  • Electricity generation from wind turbines depends on the weather conditions. Energy storage solutions are improving through battery technology and the National Grid is improving its grid balancing solutions.
  • The wind industry continues to work with stakeholders including aviation bodies to agree upon solutions to impacts upon civil and air defence radar and flight activities.

Offshore Wind Energy

The cost of new offshore wind has fallen dramatically over the last few years. It is now one of the lowest cost options for new power in the UK and is now cheaper than new gas and nuclear power.

Interesting Facts

  • The UK has the largest offshore wind farm in the world, which is located off the coast of Yorkshire
  • Having decreased in price in recent years, offshore wind is on course to be the cheapest source of large scale, low carbon energy generation
  • Wind energy generation accounted for 24% of total electricity generation in 2020; with offshore wind accounting for 13%
  • The UK has installed more offshore wind capacity than any other country, enough to power the equivalent of more than 18 million homes
  • Over 600 companies employing 11,000 people are active in the sector
  • Investment in new UK offshore wind capacity from now until 2021 set to total £18bn
  • Employment in offshore wind in the UK has increased significantly since 2015, with 7,200 full-time equivalent employees in 2019


  • Offshore wind is seen as critical to delivering the UK’s future low carbon economy and meeting climate change obligations.
  • The industry has published a vision of delivering 30GW – approximately four times what we have today and approximately 30% of the UK’s total energy requirements, by 2030.
  • The target is for the industry to employ 27,000 people and increase exports fivefold to £2.5bn per annum by 2030.
  • Huge opportunity for UK supply chain companies to bring innovative products and services to market to meet the growing demand, both in the UK and internationally.


  • Complex design process.
  • Need for increased standardization across the industry.
  • To help improve installation, operations, and ongoing maintenance, offshore wind farms still need to become less sensitive to weather fluctuations.

Get in touch

AREG is the original energy transition organisation, working on behalf of members to empower the energy supply chain and champion its expertise. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to find out more about membership.

AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

Scottish Renewables

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.


Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.


Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

Scottish Enterprise