The socioeconomic benefits from the development of wind power could go beyond environmental issues or the diversification of the energy mix. There is an increasing interest in quantifying the impact on regional economies of such deployment, especially in those peripheral regions with low growth rates and traditional declined sectors. However, many studies in this field are meta-analyses or they do not take into account the different dynamics between temporal and permanent activities in the sector as well as the regional singularities.
The main aim of this paper is to analyse the economic impact of wind energy, in terms of contribution to the GDP and job creation, applying as a case study the Spanish peripheral region of Galicia. This quantification is addressed from a regional and sectoral perspective. The methodology is based on the analysis of the value chains regarding the design of the investment breakdown between temporal and permanent activities, and the input–output approach in order to assess the economic impact. In addition, the regional symmetric matrices are updated by means of a variation of the RAS technique which avoids the fixed technical coefficients related to the traditional input–output models.
Empirical evidences underline the remarkable economic impact on the regional GDP and, to a lesser extent, on the employment. Although wind sector is capital intensive, employment increases in large amounts in industrial subsectors and knowledge intensive activities such as R&D. Hence, it might be an industrial alternative in peripheral regions if legislative instability is removed and promotion polices foster the regional value chain.