Our colleague Richard who is based in Germany has been in the UK to follow up our interests in renewable energy:
This week Manchester played host to RenewableUK 2011 one of the UK’s leading wind, marine and tidal energy industry events. More than 300 companies exhibited, and over 5,000 delegates from around the world attended the conference.
This year’s event took place in light of the UK’s government recent publication of proposals for the levels of banded support available for large scale renewable electricity generation under the Renewables Obligation for the period 2013-17 in England and Wales. The Scottish Government also published a consultation paper (Oct 21) on changes to the Renewables Obligation (Scotland) with consultation closing on 13th January 2012. Information on both announcements and details of the consultation process can be found on the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s website http://www.decc.gov.uk/.
The three introductory speeches at RenewableUK all focused on the significant opportunity the wind sector offers in the UK, especially with the plans to significantly expand the offshore wind capacity around the UK coastline by 2020. It was quoted that the UK should be able to create up to 80,000 new jobs from investments in the wind sector alone. There is certainly a huge opportunity here for communities to attract significant inward investment projects (20 new factories were highlighted as possible) and at the same time develop their indigenous companies with experience in subsea engineering etc. gained from the oil and gas and offshore sectors.
There does remain however a danger that if the necessary investment in port infrastructure is not made quickly enough then the turbines and other major components for offshore projects will simply be shipped from overseas ports with access to the North Sea. In this respect the German government’s announcement, made after the Fukushima disaster, to switch off all its nuclear power stations by 2022 and invest heavily in renewable energy (notably offshore wind) and energy efficiency technologies should be noted. The government there has recently increased its offshore wind tariff to 19 Eurocents / kwh for projects completed from 2012 onwards and it has also launched a € 5 billion co-investment fund for offshore wind financing, managed by the government KfW Bank. Two projects have already won financing deals from this fund (Meerwind and Global Tech I) and we can expect to see the German offshore wind sector now enter a period of commercial development in the next two years and beyond, competing for investment, components and know-how with other European locations.
Contact us if you want to learn more about this opportunity.