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UK lost early renewable technology lead - minister

UK lost early renewable technology lead - minister
LONDON - Britain failed to turn its early lead in renewable energy technologies like wind turbines and solar cells into commercial success, Energy Minister Brian Wilson said this week.
Launching a new six-person government unit to help manufacturers pick up a share of the growing global renewable energy market, the minister said other countries had already leap-frogged past British firms. \"Over the past 20 years, other European countries have gained manufacturing benefits from renewable energy technologies in which the UK had early leads,\" Wilson said in a statement. He added that 14,000 people were employed by the wind industry in Denmark, which will generate 27 percent of its electricity next year. Far fewer jobs in Britain have been created by the renewable energy indusry. The UK generates only 2.8 percent of its power from renewables, including hydro-power. The minister said he hoped the new unit, called Renewables UK, would help redress the balance. Alison Hill of the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) said it was unlikely Britain would be able to win back much of the manufacturing business from the Danish. \"We (in the UK) had the technical expertise, which we never followed through into manufacturing. The Danes won the manufacturing war,\" she said. Of the top 10 international wind turbine makers, eight are Danish, she added. Hill said an illustration of UK expertise in the renewable technology field was ironically the number of Danish manufacturers which have set up plants in Britain in the last couple of years. \"There is already a strong component manufacturing industry in this country. 43 percent of components in UK turbines are of British origin,\" she said. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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