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UK energy sector is getting the wind up

Author : Paul Gay

30 March 2010

Making a change from all the hot air circulating the media during the build up to May's general election, the UK energy sector is seemingly getting its act together by harnessing nature’s wind and demonstrating that the UK can become an important driver in the offshore renewable energy business. Arguably the UK is now a top destination for offshore wind energy investment and strategic intervention by the Government is unlocking this investment.

The winds of change
The winds of change

Last week the Government welcomed Siemens’ plans to invest £80million in the UK for offshore wind production facilities, following the Budget announcement of £60million for a competition to develop manufacturing and assembly sites for the offshore wind industry. Investment in off-shore wind generation is creating a new industrial sector in the UK that could employ a highly skilled workforce of 70,000 by 2020.

Marking the announcement, Energy Secretary Ed Miliband said: “This is a vote of confidence from one of the foremost companies in the offshore wind sector, looking to set up a base in the UK. More proof that we’re exploiting the great natural resource that we have and creating the right conditions to attract investment. Siemens’ investment will help create jobs and help us meet our renewable energy targets.”

Siemens is the latest offshore wind manufacturer to announce plans for investment in the UK. Clipper has committed to build the world’s biggest wind turbines employing up to 500 people. Mitsubishi intends to invest up to £100 million in an offshore wind research and development facility, creating up to 200 jobs and more recently GE announced a €110 million investment which the company believes will create up to 1900 jobs.

Investment in off-shore wind generation is creating a new industrial sector in the UK that could employ a high skilled workforce of 70,000 by 2020. The winds of change, it appears, are blowing favourably for a safe and renewable offshore energy sector powered by wind not fossil fuels.

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