UK Missing out on Investment in Manufacturing, Specialist Says

The UK is missing out on vital investment in manufacturing to support offshore wind to Germany and other countries because of the current lack of clarity in the government’s future strategy for offshore wind, an industry champion claims.

Germany and other countries are being allowed to surge ahead threatening the UK’s position as world leader for offshore wind power, James Gray, of the East of England Energy Zone, said.

The East of England, which has 63 per cent of the UK’s offshore wind power with at least 1.2GW more in the pipeline, is losing out on potential factories to supply developments off its shores, he claimed.

All 1450 turbines and 4350 blades in the UK’s 4.5GW of offshore wind were made and shipped to the UK from Danish and German factories.

Siemens’ announcement this week that it was setting up a €200m factory in Cuxhaven, Germany to produce parts for 7MW wind turbines, creating up to 1,000 jobs, was another blow.

Siemens’ 7MW turbines have been earmarked for East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm to be built off Norfolk and Suffolk in the next few years by ScottishPower Renewables. It was announced that Swedish giant Vattenfall had agreed to split development of the rest of the East Anglia Zone with ScottishPower Renewables.

James Gray, director of the East of England Energy Zone, said: “This news demonstrates the confidence of two major international developers in the East of England a confidence in the potential which is echoed in the recent progress with the Hornsea and Dogger developments. But we need an early indication from government of a long term  policy which will encourage investors attracting more inward investment , supporting our supply chain and creating   the local jobs we need here.

“Until that happens, manufacturers for wind farms will continue to choose to invest in other countries, like Germany, whose offshore wind market is growing rapidly.”

Mr Gray has been working to attract companies supplying developers of offshore wind farms to investment in manufacturing in East of England for many years.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Energy Alliance, comprising Norfolk and Suffolk County councils, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Waveney District Council, North Norfolk District Council, EEEGR, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and the Norfolk and Suffolk Chambers of Commerce, provides potential investors access to land and port data, the extensive local supply chain, skills, programmes, local politicians and planning support.

“The UK leads the way in the world in offshore wind with 4.5GW. Everyone in the industry says UK is well on target to get to 10GW by 2020 with projections of 23.2GW by 2025.

“But all turbines operating in UK waters have been manufactured outside the UK.”

“We are missing the opportunity to develop manufacturing and assembly facilities, skills and local supply chain opportunities in the UK, and are allowing other countries to surge ahead.


“It is vital that a message goes out from the government in the form of a clear strategy and policy for offshore wind to grow confidence in the industry to invest here.”

The Hull development is expected to be fully operational in 2017.

Image: tmsmedia