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UK Wind Power Faces Competition amid Policy Doubts

UK Wind Power Faces Competition amid Policy Doubts
LONDON - Britain's wind power industry faces increasing competition from Spain and the United States for investment amid doubts about the UK government's long-term energy policy, consultants Ernst & Young said on Monday.

The UK has slid from the first to the third most attractive place to invest in wind power, behind the US and Spain, according to a survey by Ernst & Young.

"The United States market in particular is booming, causing a global turbine shortage, leading to delays for some European projects," said the consultants.

The UK is depending on an expansion of its wind power sector, and especially on offshore projects, to help meet its targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases which are widely blamed for causing global warming.

The first commercial offshore schemes are in operation and a slew of others are planned.

Green power is subsidised via the renewables obligation scheme which runs until 2015 and obliges suppliers to buy a certain amount of their electricity from green sources.

The government's decision this year not to extend the renewables scheme beyond 2015 is causing projects difficulties in getting long-term finance.

"Offshore wind already faces rising costs from manufacturers and high grid connection costs but now the sector could struggle to secure project financing due to cash flow uncertainty beyond 2015," said Jonathan Johns, head of renewable energy at Ernst & Young.

Britain produces about four percent of its electricity from green sources and has a target of raising that to 10 percent by 2010.

Rising carbon dioxide emissions have forced the government to rethink its energy policy.

Civil servants are working on a new energy white paper, due to be published next year, just three years after a previous overhaul of its strategy designed to turn Britain into a low-carbon economy.

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