According to a report in today’s Times, more than half of the estimated £50bn investment for Boris’s planned offshore wind farm expansion is expected to go to companies overseas. SSE, the report says, opted for manufacturers in Asia, citing lower costs.
The Times reports that the majority of orders for turbines and other equipment is expected to go to foreign, mainly Asian suppliers.
Much of the electric components are no longer made in Britain partly because most firms specialising in heavy electrical equipment closed down or moved abroad 20-30 years ago. It is thus an effect of the long run decline of the manufacturing sector in the UK.
The other factor is that there has been huge shift in the industry manufacturing turbines. 20 years ago there were at least 30 substantial manufacturers with fringe of many small firms. Today there are 3 large international companies – Vestas, Siemens and GE – plus a fringe of Chinese and Indian suppliers, primarily focusing on local markets.
The large companies aren’t going to build new main factories in the UK but they might build final assembly plants as a sop.
Boris Johnson’s green industrial revolution will make energy and thus manufacturing ever more expensive, making what little is left in UK manufacturing even less competitive.
Britain is forecast to miss out on more than half of the £50 billion investment in building offshore wind farms in its waters this decade, with the majority of orders for turbines and other equipment expected to go to factories and suppliers overseas.
A commitment to quadruple UK offshore wind capacity by 2030 was one of the key policy proposals outlined by Boris Johnson in his ten-point plan last week to cut emissions and create jobs. However, government figures predict that only about £20 billion of the investment will go to Britain.
Energy companies are expected to need to invest about £50 billion building new wind farms to hit the 2030 target. Although Britain has two blade factories, in Hull and on the Isle of Wight, many blades and most other big turbine parts are made abroad. Only 29 per cent of the capital investment in recent projects has been in the UK.