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China's Involvement In Mega UK Wind Farm Sparks Controversy

  • The Moray West wind farm could power over 1.33 million homes with 882MW and 60 turbines, but 80% of the monopiles for the turbines are supplied by China's Dajin Offshore Heavy Industry.
  • Alicia Kearns, Conservative MP, warns that the UK’s dependence on China for renewable energy components exposes strategic vulnerabilities and calls for diversifying suppliers.
  • Other Conservative MPs, like Simon Clarke and Peter Aldous, echo the sentiment that the UK should be incentivizing domestic production for such large-scale renewable projects.
Offshore Wind

Conservative MPs have criticised the role of a Chinese private investment group in a new mega offshore wind farm that could power over one million homes.

The Moray West offshore wind farm project, located off the coast of Scotland, is an upcoming 882MW development, consisting of 60 turbines, with the potential to serve 1.33m homes.

The development, which has been fully approved, is run as a joint venture between EDP Renewables and Engie, and is expected to generate power as soon as next year.

While the turbines have been supplied by Siemens Gamesa, 80 per cent of the turbine’s monopiles, the steel tubes driven into the seabed, are being supplied by Dajin Offshore Heavy Industry.

More than half of those monopiles have been delivered.

Alicia Kearns, Conservative MP and chair of the foreign affairs select committee, told City A.M. that the origins of components for renewable projects was a “key problem” for the UK as it exposed “where strategic vulnerabilities lie”.

“Our allies and partners around the world are facing similar issues when it comes to developing renewables and mitigating over-reliance on China,” she said. “This is why we need to be securing partnerships with alternative manufacturers, like Taiwan, but also investing further down the supply chain in critical mineral extraction and refinement, so that the pool of renewable energy infrastructure suppliers can grow.”

Fellow Tory MP Simon Clarke, told City A.M.: “Instead of relying on imports, we should be incentivising British projects to use British products.”

Conservative backbench MP Peter Aldous also raised concerns over Dajin’s involvement, adding that such projects should be depending on domestic firms.

“As we scale up our offshore wind sector, it is imperative that we incentivise more of the supply chain to make the United Kingdom its home,” he told City A.M.

Downing Street has taken steps to to reduce China’s role in other areas of the energy sector. Last year, the government paid over £100m to Chinese state-owned firm China General Nuclear to buy out its 20 per cent stake in the Sizewell C nuclear power plant.

Earlier this year, MPs also raised concerns about Chinese firms’ stakes in North Sea oil and gas projects.

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The joint venture company, Ocean Winds, Danjin Offshore Heavy Industry and the government have all been approached for comment.

By Nicholas Earl via CityAM

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