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Britain is the world leader in the offshore wind farm market, accounting for 60% of all offshore wind farms in Europe.
Yet the shocking reality is that, according to a recent survey, British companies only own 12.3% of all UK offshore wind farms.
The largest offshore wind farm in the world is the London Array which is being developed just off the coast of Kent. Chris Randle, the project manager for the giant scheme, is probably one of the few Englishman actually involved in the construction, and he admits that he is deeply conscious of the lack of homegrown labour and services being used.
“I would like nothing better than to be hiring local firms or people if only because it makes for a more competitive tender and helps me drive down costs. But in the past there was not that skilled supply chain. It takes time to build that up in this new industry but I am glad to say it is getting better and this can be seen on the newer projects.”
Denmark's Dong Energy, Germany's E.ON, and the Abu-Dhabi-based Masdar provided nearly £1.5 billion to fund the project. Siemens of Germany is in charge of providing the wind turbines, which were made at a plant in Denmark, and installation is being handled by a Danish firm and Dutch-owned firm.
Nearly 90 percent of the £1.5 billion has gone to foreign firms.
Joanne Haddon, the media manager for the London Array, tried to counter argue that they “have nearly 100 people working from the London Array construction office at Ramsgate port – 86% are British, with 46% from the local area.” It doesn’t really balance the numbers.
Other wind farms around the country are just as bad.
Near to the London Array is the £780 million Thanet wind farm owned by Vattenfall of Sweden, and which is constructed using Danish turbines supplied by Vestas.
The latest wind farm to be completed is Sheringham Shoals, but so much foreign money was used to build it that it was actually opened by Crown Prince Haakon of Norway.
The most British wind farm to be constructed to date was the Robin Rigg wind farm off the coast of Scotland which managed to use British firms for 32% of the project.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
James Burgess studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham. He has worked in property development, chartered surveying, marketing, law, and accounts. He has also…