Wind turbines: Vestas scraps Isle of Sheppey plan

Wind turbine Danish company Vestas cancelled its plans for a factory on Isle of Sheppey due to lack of orders

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Plans to create 2,000 jobs in one of the most deprived areas of the south east have been abandoned.

Danish company Vestas has scrapped its plan to manufacture wind turbines at a huge new plant on the Isle of Sheppey, saying it hadn't secured enough orders to go ahead.

The news has been met with dismay on the island, where unemployment is more than twice the national average.

There's no doubt it's a blow. Despite the fact this government describes itself as the greenest government ever, the mood music has changed in recent months.

It emerged earlier this month that Chancellor George Osborne would like to cut subsidies for onshore wind farms by 25%.

Industry leaders warned that level of reduction would "kill dead" the development of wind power sites.

Only yesterday Energy Secretary Ed Davey, who is a Liberal Democrat, defended the amount of subsidy put into renewables.

Investor confidence

One thing companies making large investments hate is uncertainty. Flip-flopping on policy is the best way to lose investment and undermine investor confidence.

Given that, I think the Vestas' announcement today is unsurprising.

It made it very clear back in August that without subsidies from the government it would not be building the site which would have seen nearly 2,000 jobs created in Sheppey.

Even the Conservative MP for South Thanet, Laura Sandys, a member of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, has criticised the government.

She said: "Vestas' decision will have been a commercial one; but it also suggests a lack of confidence within the industry over the government's commitment to the green economy and crucially, offshore wind."

She added: "The market needs certainty from government if it is to deliver the thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment that could secure our economic recovery."

If the government doesn't firm up its policy on subsidies, soon maybe the last renewable energy company in Britain won't have to put the lights out.

It'll already be dark.

Louise Stewart Article written by Louise Stewart Louise Stewart Political editor, South East

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  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Efficiency is different to Load Factor . If you have a 200hp sports car you problably only drive at an average of 30hp , a load factor of 15%. If you don't accept Climate Science, if you think the Russians & middle east will always want to sell us cheap gas & oil, if you think yet another nuclear disaster is imposible, then you might not like Wind Power .

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Maybe Vestas listened to the white noise of the Heathrow expansion lobby and believed it was too dangerous to build close to the wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery. Who would want to build a factory next to something that we are led to believe could explode any second destroying half the known world?

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    @Bananas, "Not in my local area". Sounds a lot like "Not in my back yard" to me. Simple choice; would you prefer, wind turbines installed there, or a new smokey coal power plant? If people find the new methods of providing a secure energy supply they should try SWITCHING OFF their lights, heating, computers etc a bit more often. Everyone can help with demand side reduction

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    @ 3 Jim
    "The turbines operate at 30% efficiency.Would you buy a car that delivered only 30% of its alleged output?"

    My car has spent 98% of its life parked Jim, I guess like most other peoples. Thats only 2% utilisation. (Based on actual mileage over 14 years at an average 40mph). I'm not a fan of wind power either but maybe you need to rethink your point.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Whilst we are at it, let us also see reports of how all the existing arrays are performing (not just the 4,686MW of capacity that appears on the NETA website).
    Why wouldn't even the wind lobbyists want this information in the public domain?

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    This report should be factual, without going into the hypothetical arguments of climate change, stick to the wholesale price of the end product (electricity), but should include Capacity Payments made to conventional generators that are necessary to a) get them to build new plant and b) get them to maintain it on standby for when the wind does not blow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    It is about time that a totally independent body was commissioned to look into the true cost of these industrial scale wind power stations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Maybe Louise Stewart should put some time in with Baroness Worthington and her All Party Parliamentary Group on Thorium Energy.

    Breeder reactors can supply all of the energy for everyone on the planet, forever.

    To believe that a spaghetti-like interconnection of windmills and plastic squares can achieve this ideal goal, is insane.

    Google: "benefits of lftrs" to get onside with this technology

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Look at the statistics. Wind is absolutely useless. No one is investing in this, it's all tax subsidised and a robbery.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    To z4049

    What nonsense!

    The point is the tax payer has to subsidise the inefficiency of the wind turbine and solar panel and that it is an unsustainable expense.In Spain solar manufacturers have gone out of business because the tax payer woke up to find they were being robbed as it was costing millions of euros.The same is going to happen in the UK.
    Oil is hardly subsidised.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    to Jim
    The efficiency of petrol engines is less than 30% and more usually a lot less.
    The fraction of time in which the wind is blowing at a reasonable speed should not be confused with the efficiency defined as energy out / energy in. If windmills do not always generate then we need to build more of them not less.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Thank goodness. I am sorry that people on the Isle of Sheppey are short of work, but I would no more want them making these ghastly things than have them employed in the breeding of crocodiles for general release in the fens. I used to think wind turbines were a good idea till someone proposed putting ten of them in our local area. Then I actually read up about them properly......

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Vesta's seem to have a habit of doing this.
    Here on the Isle of Wight they took all the grants and when they ran out closed the factory down.
    Then accepted some more grants and built a "Development" building, we'll see how long that stays there!

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Ah yes - the old "big oil" ad hominem attack, play the man when you can't play the ball.

    Curiously if you do the research you'll find that the old energy companies give not a red cent to the guys taking apart the warmist "science". If you're looking for where money buys coverage, look no further. The warmists have the media (esp Auntie!) pushing their case.

    But it's not enough, the scam's over!

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    I agree.

    Wind Power is a complete waste of taxpayers money.
    The turbines operate at 30% efficiency.Would you buy a car that delivered only 30% of its alleged output?
    The Wind & Solar industry is not a sustainable business.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    to JohnRS, those taking apart the science are mostly expert in rhetoric and possibly owned by shareholders of 20th century old energy. Calling a wind turbine a bird shredder is an example of rhetoric to over-emphasise a problem which is less severe with windmills than with aircraft. If we are to have a future then we need some sort of renewable power supply.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Your phrase says it all: "without subsidies from the government it would not be building the site"

    This is just a taxpayer scam. These are not real jobs, they cost hundreds of thousands each. Bird shredders contribute nothing to energy generation or security. The so-called science behind them is being taken apart bit by bit and found to be wanting. All wind subsidies should be cancelled.



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