Tuesday, July 28, 2009

U.K.: "In Vestas in the future? Why offshore wind won’t work"

Great Britain is screwed in so many ways, on so many levels. I've started thinking of it as the California of Europe. A smart commentary from the Financial Times' EnergySource blog:

The UK government is offering £6m to the wind turbine maker Vestas in order to encourage the company to continue some operations in the south of England.

The company announced in March its intention to close its factory on the Isle of Wight - the only facility of any size making wind turbine parts in the UK.

This new £6m - which Vestas has not yet agreed to take up - would not save the factory, or the 600 plus jobs there.

It would fund, instead, a new development - a research and development facility for Vestas to experiment with making offshore wind turbines. If that facility went ahead, it could create up to 300 jobs.

But investors might ask themselves - what is really the point of that?

The loss of the UK’s only major wind energy manufacturing facility will be a disaster for the hopes of the UK’s fledgling green industrial sector. Meeting the European Union’s targets of generating 20 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020 will require the UK to generate 30 per cent of its electricity from renewables - mostly wind, because other technologies are not ready, are too expensive or too hard to implement.

This will cost about £100bn, almost all coming from the private sector, and will be paid for in higher electricity bills to consumers and industry. The government hopes that this investment will not just generate new green power for the UK, but kickstart an export industry that will generate hundreds of thousands of new green jobs.

It’s a nice idea. The reality is rather different....MORE