Anti-wind farm campaigners could cost the West Midlands up to £90 million in missed investment, according to research commissioned by the trade body for the renewables industry.
Concerns about the effect on the landscape of wind farms are holding back opportunities for local job creation, increased business rates for local councils and funds for local community projects, according to RenewableUK.
The organisation claims that the West Midlands stands to gain up to £90 million in wind energy investments by 2030 if all onshore wind farm developments currently seeking approval are agreed
But that could be lost if anti-wind farm campaigners get their way.
An application for four wind turbines recently hit fierce local resistance near Lichfield and villagers in Worcestershire are opposing a five-turbine plan at The Lenches, Church Lench.
The investment opportunities in England are outlined in a report commissioned by RenewableUK from energy research consultancy GL Garrard Hassan.
The figures are based on onshore wind farm developments seeking planning consent in England at the present time, and do not include investment that has been already delivered and is ongoing for local companies across England from wind farms that are operational.
The GL Garrad Hassan report highlights the development and investment opportunities across the UK, the capital expenditure opportunities for local companies engaged in construction and the ongoing maintenance opportunities for local engineering companies during the lifespan of all wind farms.
In addition, through plans that are under consideration by the Government, renewable energy projects will be able to provide 100 per cent of business rates payable to local authorities and local community initiatives will be supported financially through funds agreed at part of the planning process.
The report has been released at the same time as RenewableUK publishes its annual State of the Industry report, which highlights a fall in wind farm developments being agreed at the planning stage by local authorities across the entire UK from over 50 per cent in 2008-9 to only one in three for 2009-10.
RenewablesUK chief executive Maria McCaffery said: “The UK wind energy industry is already bringing investment and jobs for local people and companies all across the country, and can deliver many more financial benefits in the years ahead.
“Aesthetic concerns may often be the grounds for refusal of wind farm developments at planning stage, but they can also be seen as selfish concerns when considered against the tangible benefits that wind energy can bring, not only for the benefit of the environment, but just as importantly for local jobs and funds for investment, ongoing for the entire lifespan of a wind farm development.
“By halting developments, anti-wind farm campaigners are doing their local communities a disservice, and one that no-one can afford in these difficult economic times.”