The boss of the world’s biggest wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas, has warned that the wind energy sector in Europe remains fairly stagnant, in remarks that deal a blow to governments’ hopes of constructing new industries around renewable technologies.
We have, so to speak been holding our breath for a very, very long time in this region – and not by accident.
But today, when almost all countries in the area are struggling to get their economies back together, we must face the fact that uncertainty – even by 2011 – will remain significant around Europe.
Even with government support, Engel warned that manufacturing wind turbines in northern Europe is simply too expensive – hence Vestas’ decision to cut 3,000 jobs. He said:
The announced changes primarily affect our factories and organisation in Denmark, as the production costs in northern Europe are too high. Today, it is cheaper for Vestas to manufacture a turbine in Spain and ship it to Sweden – compared to having it produced in Denmark and shipped to our neighbouring country.
This will be especially disappointing for the UK, which hopes to build a whole industry on the back of offshore wind, even spending £60m to regenerate ports so the right infrastructure can be built. The government predicted 70,000 jobs would be generated on the back of that decision – that figure looks less certain now.