The U.K. is the world’s leading offshore wind market for Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS), said the Danish turbine-maker, which last month canceled plans for a factory in southeast England.
“Even from Vestas’ perspective,” the U.K. is still the leading market, Sarah Merrick, U.K. and Ireland government relations manager at the company, told a panel of lawmakers.
She made her comments weeks after Vestas pulled out of plans to build a turbine factory at the Port of Sheerness in Kent. The plant for the 7-megawatt turbine would have created 2,000 jobs. While Merrick said she was unable to comment on details of the factory, she said developers and industry needed “long-term visibility” for investment decisions.
“At the moment, it’s very difficult to see that there’s much visibility in terms of what’s likely happen beyond the end of the RO,” she said, referring to the U.K.’s support program for offshore wind and other renewable energy sources. That makes it “very difficult for investors to make those long-term decisions.”
The U.K. is about to publish details of revised levels of support for clean technologies including offshore wind covering the 2013 to 2017 period. From 2017, the so-called Renewables Obligation will be replaced with “contracts for difference,” which set long-term prices for power and are so far only in outline form.
The lack of detail on the new contracts fuels uncertainty for wind investors, Gordon Edge, policy director at industry group RenewableUK, told lawmakers in June.
The U.K. is well-placed to reap benefits of an offshore wind industry including jobs in services and infrastructure for turbines installed at sea, Merrick said.
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