UK gets round to announcing £60m port investment

The British government has finally announced what we have known for a while: that it will keep in place the £60m of investment pledged by the last government to improve infrastructure for offshore wind.

David Cameron told the CBI annual conference:

To help secure private sector investment in this technology, we’re providing up to £60 million to meet the needs of offshore wind infrastructure at our ports. And to help move things forward, the Crown Estate will also work with interested ports and manufacturers to realise the potential of their sites.

It’s a triple win. It will help secure our energy supplies, protect our planet and the Carbon Trust says it could create 70,000 jobs.

The announcement was timed to coincide with the news that GE, Siemens and Gamesa all plan to build coastal plants in which to make turbines for offshore farms. And the Carbon Trust is pretty positive too:

Offshore wind is a vital technology for the UK’s energy supply and investment in UK port facilities is critical to ensuring the UK generates maximum economic benefit from the dash for wind which will see thousands of turbines installed at sea.

It sounds like good news all round. But it does beg one question: on what basis is the current government making decisions on whether or not to maintain the targeted investments promised by the last? UK readers will remember the furore over the cancelled £80m loan to the steel company Sheffield Forgemasters to buy a press to build parts for nuclear power plants.

If there wasn’t the money for that project, why was there for this one?

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