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A German offshore revival could derail UK plans

OFFSHORE: The UK’s Round 3 supply chain could be adversely affected if Germany moves away from nuclear and towards offshore, according to a senior figure at the UK’s energy ministry.

Investment's such as the Siemens manufacturing hub at Hull could go to Germany if it moves into offshore
Investment's such as the Siemens manufacturing hub at Hull could go to Germany if it moves into offshore

Duarte Figueira, head of renewables at the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, said a revival in German offshore development could divert components including wind turbines and cables to that market and push up prices.

Such a move could result from German chancellor Angela Merkel’s desire to ditch nuclear in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima crisis. Industry observers believe offshore wind power would fill the gap.

He added that a sudden increase in German investment might also affect Britain’s efforts to attract turbine manufacturers to its emerging North Sea offshore hubs.

Figueira was speaking at the All-Energy offshore power event in Aberdeen this week.

At the same event Andrew Reid, CEO at consultant Douglas Westwood said that Germany already had "an exceptionally strong supply chain" in place, although growing its market could also help create greater scale in Europe’s offshore equipment manufacturing capability.

Adrian Fox, supply chain manager at the UK Crown Estate added that there were already shortages of cables, subsea foundations and installation jack-up ships emerging in the North Sea region and that these may be exacerbated by a sudden German offshore revival.

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