Kate Mackenzie UK wind turbine manufacturing hopes rise again

Petra Barnby

Photo: Petra Barnby

Will the UK, courtesy of Gamesa, once again be home to a wind turbine factory? It might be a boost for the country’s renewables scene after the departure of big Dutch turbine-maker Vestas to close its Isle of Wight facility last year. This left the country with almost no domestic wind manufacturing, despite being one of the biggest users of offshore wind (in fact few other countries, apart from Denmark, are terribly interested due to the cost and technological challenges).

The government wants to see £100bn of offshore wind developments, but has had limited success attracting investors. It insists it is offering good incentives. The problem is, so are a lot of other countries. From Ed Crooks’ report in the FT:

But, at a recent meeting of energy chiefs with the prime minister at Downing Street, an executive from Mitsubishi drew unfavourable comparisons between the incentives available in the UK and those on offer in other countries, according to people present at the meeting.

One area of concern that’s already been identified is the long-term future for the Renewables Obligation scheme; which subsidises each unit of renewable energy generated. The subsidy level for offshore wind falls after 2014, when some new offshore wind projects will only be newly built. Offshore wind turbines – favoured in the UK due to lack of onshore space – tend to be big, expensive projects.

Related links:

Wind turbine manufacturing in the UK – and beyond (FT Energy Source)
In Vestas in the future? Why offshore wind won’t work (FT Energy Source)