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Germany to pass UK to be world leader in offshore wind power

ClickGreen
14th September 2011
Germany will overtake the UK as the world leader in offshore wind generated power as early as 2015, according to new research.
As part of a detailed investigation into power cable installation in the offshore wind industry, technology and consultancy company Enventi claim its analysis shows current UK Government policy is stalling offshore wind development.

The findings arise from research into supply contracts awarded to submarine power cable manufacturers which shows that out of 2,400 kilometres (km) of wind farm related power cables currently on order, only around 13 per cent or just over 300 km relate to planned UK wind farm developments compared to almost 2,000 km ordered for German projects.

According to Enventi, such evidence confirms that uncertainty linked to planned Government reforms is creating a delay between projects currently in construction and those already consented.

Scott Macknocher, Enventiʼs general manager is not surprised by the figures and suspects that similar patterns are probably occurring across the supply chain. "We came across these findings somewhat by accident whilst undertaking a detailed investigation into power cable installation, a well known problem area for the offshore wind industry to date.

"Despite what the Government has said about transitional measures protecting investment, it appears that uncertainty arising from Electricity Market Reform (EMR) is preventing consented projects achieving financial close and proceeding to construction.

"In a tight supply chain, as we believe is likely, this hiatus in the UK will be a crucial factor in the race to install the next phase of offshore wind farms in North-Western Europe. Germany is already well advanced in the installation of an integrated High-Voltage Direct-Current (HVDC) network that will allow 'clusters' of offshore wind farms to be developed and it is likely that this groundwork will allow Germany to surpass the UK as the World leader in installed offshore wind capacity sometime between 2015 and 2020".

Enventi will shortly be publishing its findings into offshore power cable installation and are currently working on engineered solutions and streamlined methodologies to some of the problems identified.

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