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UK to push for 50% offshore supplier target

UK: UK junior energy minister Charles Hendry is to push for domestic firms supply over half the material and equipment used to build future offshore wind farm.

UK junior energy minister Charles Hendry visiting the Gunfleet Sands offshore wind farm
UK junior energy minister Charles Hendry visiting the Gunfleet Sands offshore wind farm

Speaking at the Offshore Wind Development Forum, Hendry is set to suggest up to 50% of future offshore wind farms such as those coming from the 33GW Round 3 programme could be built by UK companies.

However, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said there would no legislation to back up such as aim as the UK is beholden to EU trade rules.

There has been controversy in recent years over the lack of involvement by British suppliers in offshore projects versus the amount of government investment.

When Vestas completed the 300MW Thanet offshore wind farm in September 2010, it was revealed only 20% of the construction jobs to build it were UK-based. The 1GW London Array scheme was even worse, with a Channel 4 report at the time suggesting UK companies only built 10% of it.

DECC's plan will be outlined by junior energy minister Charles Hendry at the Offshore Wind Developers Forum.

Hendry's announcement comes at a difficult time for the DECC following the resignation of energy minister Chris Huhne following charges of perverting the course of justice.

Despite the quick appointment of Ed Davey as replacement for Huhne, anti-wind MPs within the coalition government have been pushing prime minister David Cameron to scale back the UK's plans.

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