Wind power helped displace around £579 million worth of coal and gas imports in the UK in 2013, according to a new study.
It found the renewable energy source reduced the nation’s need to import coal by an estimated 4.9 million tonnes and gas by 1.4 billion cubic meters.
Around 56% of Britain’s gas supplies and 79% of coal were said to have been imported in 2013.
The Cambridge Econometrics research, commissioned by RenewableUK, also showed wind turbines generated enough electricity to power 6.8 million homes in the same year.
It found using more gas would cost £3.1 billion in 2020, rising to £7.4 billion by 2030 while installing more turbines instead could make the nation’s energy market “more resilient” to global fossil fuel price shocks.
Phil Summerton, Director at Cambridge Econometrics said: “This report shows wind energy is contributing to reducing fossil fuel import dependence and that this contribution will grow in future as wind capacity expands.
“Investment into wind power acts as an insurance policy against uncertainty in future wholesale gas prices and could provide a degree of stability to future electricity prices.”
The research claims if the cost of gas rises by 2030 in line with the government’s high prices forecast – a 41% increase – the cost of generating electricity would rise by 8% whereas wind would increase it by less than 4%.