Turbine makers shun UK until reforms clear - Vattenfall
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will fail to tempt a wind turbine manufacturer to open a factory in the country until its policy on rewarding future wind farms is clear, said the head of Sweden's Vattenfall, which opened its third British offshore wind farm on Wednesday.
Britain has one of Europe's most ambitious wind power development targets, with a projected annual capacity growth rate of 13 percent until 2020, requiring huge investments for new plants and potentially creating thousands of jobs in the UK.
Several wind turbine manufacturers have announced plans to set up factories in Britain to take a slice of the potential boom but a project cancellation by Denmark's Vestas, one of the world's largest turbine makers, and GE Energy putting its factory plans on hold showed appetite for UK-based manufacturing was lower than expected.
"If you look at the UK, not one supplier has established itself yet because of uncertainty in the future," Vattenfall Chief Executive Oystein Loseth told Reuters, adding that his company had bought turbines for its 500 million pound ($812.73 million) Ormonde offshore wind farm from Germany's Repower, produced outside the UK.
"If we are going to industrialise the supply chain, (building factories in the UK) will be necessary. I think before the EMR (Electricity Market Reform) is solved you'll see that the uncertainty is there," he said.
Britain is in the process of reforming its power market to stimulate investment in low-carbon energy sources, such as wind farms, but details on financial rewards for renewable projects have not been published.
Vattenfall officially opened its 150-megawatt (MW) Ormonde offshore wind farm on Wednesday and plans to start construction work on its 288-MW DanTysk offshore project off the German island of Sylt at the end of the year.
The German wind farm is expected to start operating in 2014 and will cost more than one billion euros.
The company said it would invest 4.2 billion euros ($5.48 billion) through 2016 to expand its wind energy portfolio.
(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Additional Reporting by Vera Eckert in Frankfurt; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)
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