Orders for offshore wind turbines in Britain will slump next year, threatening to halt the industry's recent growth and the expected creation of up to 10,000 "green economy" jobs.
Analysts are forecasting a 93 per cent drop in the installation of new offshore windfarms in 2013 compared with the previous year. As orders for cables, foundations and other equipment are typically made two to three years ahead of the project being completed, the slowdown will start to bite among UK suppliers next year.
Windfarm developers are worried that the hiatus in the industry will last several years, which could result in large-scale job losses if other related work cannot be found. One said this gap would cause "huge problems" for the supply chain and it would be hard for manufacturers to invest in new facilities in Britain without a steady stream of work.
Britain recently overtook Denmark to become the world's largest offshore windfarm player, implying the tripling of capacity in the next two years. But new projects will dry up in 2013. Only 90 megawatts (MW) of newly installed capacity, which is enough to supply 30,000 homes when the wind blows, is being forecast by energy experts at Douglas-Westwood, compared with 1,368MW the year before.
Energy companies are expected to spend the next two years planning bids to build huge "Round 3" projects and these may not become operational much before the end of the decade.
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