Biomass is the most job intensive form of renewable energy.
The main characteristic of the sector is that each individual installation requires the permanent supply of wood fuel and the on-going provision of specialist maintenance services. For these reasons and when compared to wind, hydro, solar and heat pumps, it is a job intensive form of renewable energy.
In this regard significant economic benefits arise due to the switch from imported gas or oil to the use of locally produced wood fuel.
There are two numerical measures of economic impact that can be estimated. These are gross value added per annum and employment:
Gross Value Added Per Annum (GVA)
Gross Value Added is the principal measure of regional economic success and measures the contribution to the economy of each individual producer, industry or sector. It is defined as the difference between the value of monetary outputs (goods and services) and the money the business has to pay for inputs, such as raw materials, to produce the monetary outputs.
Employment effects relate to construction, fitting and maintenance and to supply and processing chains. Often jobs are a mix of full and part-time posts and employment is measured in terms of full time equivalent (FTE) jobs.
There are a number of studies on biomass in terms of GVA and Employment impacts.
Taking the findings of these studies in aggregate, on average for each MW of installed biomass capacity two FTE jobs are created on a net basis. This calculation takes into account the displacement impacts of not using fossils fuels and the new activity created in the supply of wood fuel and the installation and maintenance of biomass installations.
It is also concluded that on average the GVA impact is £24,185 for each MW of installed capacity.
See the Economics and Costs section of our technical library for more information.