RenewableUK, the countrys leading renewable energy trade association, has welcomed plans by Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas to set up an offshore manufacturing base in Sheerness, Kent. Vestas has announced that it has taken an option on the lease of the 70 hectare site, which it will take forward within the next 12 to 24 months, if the UK Government delivers stability in the market and long term political and regulatory certainty.
RenewableUK stated that the Vestas announcement is further evidence of the potential of the UKs offshore sector, following earlier pledges by Siemens, GE, Mitsubishi and Clipper Windpower.
Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive of RenewableUK said: We have an unprecedented situation where some of the best known companies in the world are literally queuing up to invest in the UK. The Government now needs to seal the deal on offshore: it needs to bag the first 8,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds already pledged, by firmly supporting the technology.
The current development pipeline of the UKs offshore sector stands at around 45 gigawatts (only 1.3GW of which have so far been built), set to supply over 40% of the UKs net electricity demand. The industry is still concerned though that the lack of Government ambition could deter investors, which need a critical mass of projects in order to justify building factories and committing to the UK in the long term.
We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to solidify our lead in offshore wind. If we now take action on policy, chiefly on planning, financial support and grid, we could become a formidable manufacturing force in one of the worlds most cutting edge energy sectors, concluded McCaffery.