FURTHER questions have emerged about the chances of German manufacturer opening a factory in Hull after a major consortium said it was scaling back a fifth of its offshore developments on the Yorkshire coast.
Forewind, made up of energy firms SSE, RWE, Statoil and Statkraft is now working on plans for six wind farms on Dogger Bank, rather than eight, and says the decision is “more aligned with Government targets”.
The project will still deliver a massive 7.2 gigawatts of energy, which fit in with Government targets of providing between eight and 20GW by 2020. Beyond 2020, the Government has set a range of between 10GW and 39GW, but renewables trade association Renewables UK say there is already 10GW in the system. A spokeswoman said there was “a lot of uncertainty about just how much will be built out beyond 2020. If you are looking to build a factory it does make things very difficult.”
However she said there was still a lot of potential with other projects including the 4GW Hornsea scheme, a project involving SMart Wind, a joint venture between Mainstream Renewable Power and Siemens, and Dong Energy.
In all, the Hornsea project would require 666 6MW turbines, but questions remain as to whether they will be built in Denmark and Germany.
Sam Pick of the Renewables Network, which represents 200 renewable firms on the Humber, said: “The industry isn’t going to die; we are still talking billions of pounds of investment. The issue is whether UK companies are going to get a cut. On the current path the UK taxpayer is subsidising an industry which does not open its doors to UK manufacturing.
“If projects continue to be scaled back, Siemens and other manufacturers like Vestas will be able to meet UK demand from their existing factories. The real game changer is exports of shale gas from America which will mean a reduction in investment in grand-scale renewable energy projects.”
But council leader Steve Brady said he remained “very confident”. He said: “I believe it has got a future and I await with confidence for that decision.”