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Government policy stalling UK offshore wind development

Germany likely to take the lead in offshore wind says Enventi

As part of a detailed investigation into power cable installation in the offshore wind industry, technology and consultancy company Enventi have uncovered evidence which they believe shows that current UK government policy is stalling offshore wind development.

The findings arise from analysis carried out into supply contracts awarded to submarine power cable manufacturers which shows that out of 2,400km of wind farm related power cables currently on order, only around 13% or just over 300km relate to planned UK wind farm developments compared to almost 2,000km 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.

Submarine cable backlogScott Macknocher, Enventi’s 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 & 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.

Enventi is an independent UK-based technology and consultancy services company focused on the offshore wind industry and offering a range of complementary services to clients across the entire offshore wind business cycle. The company’s business offering includes consultancy and engineering services, specialist personnel provision, and post-construction inspection methodologies.

Enventi is based in Aberdeen and Cheltenham.

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