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UK wind deals lost, contracts sent abroad?

Posting in Energy

Is the UK losing out on lucrative wind energy contracts?

In the midst of the UK's coalition government reviewing and attempting to cut renewable energy subsidies, renewable operators have come under fire for 'neglecting' UK-based contractors in favour of keeping wind farm contracts off-shore.

Dong Energy, the operator of the world's largest wind farm off the shores of Cumbria, is the latest company to receive censure, accused of showing preference for foreign contractors and sending a 'negligible' amount of work to UK-based wind energy firms.

Although Dong Energy has recently boasted of erecting over 100 wind turbines on UK coastlines in a short amount of time, it has come under fire for the high percentage of foreign suppliers used rather than taking advantage of local services.

At the formal opening of the wind farm, Labour MP John Woodcock blamed not only companies like Dong Energy, but also government officials:

"The impact here has been fairly negligible. The Danish company has been using its own trusted suppliers on shipping contracts and other supply deals. This is not how Ed Miliband envisaged it. We need a level playing field so that British companies can win a share of the action."

The chief executive of Dong, Anders Eldrup, admitted that he was unable to give the exact figures concerning UK involvement, and potentially it is smaller than hoped -- which is to be kept in mind on future projects.

The company does argue, however, that relying on UK services to assemble wind turbines is difficult, as the contracts require parts that are not manufactured locally -- and make up 40 percent of the total £1.2bn ($1.9bn) bill.

A partner with Dong on a larger project currently working towards completion, London Array, has told the Guardian in the past that 90 percent of key contracts for the wind project, in the main due to turbine construction, landed at the feet of foreign contractors.

The UK government has said it is working towards a future scenario where British companies could expect to land at least half of future wind project contracts.

(via The Guardian)

Image credit: Andre Bulber

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure