The European Commission has expressed concern about the British Government’s policy of including “local content requirements” in new wind power projects.

Installation of an offshore wind turbine in Scottish watersMike Brookes Roper

After the “sausage war” and the “culture war” of television productions, a new front opens between London and Brussels, this time on behalf of the wind turbines, which coincides in time with the fifth anniversary of the vote at the request of the Brexi.

The European Commission has expressed concern about the UK Government’s policy of including “local content requirements” in new wind power projects. According to The Guardian, the requirement of a certain level of “national content” could conflict with the Brexit agreement and put European companies at a disadvantage.

According to the London newspaper, the Spanish Government and the French Government have supported the European Commission in their efforts due to the high involvement of their companies in the British wind power sector. The Guardian specifically quotes Siemens Gamesa already the french company Total. “On principles, Siemens Gamesa supports fair and open trade, with enforceable rules that open the doors to increased exports, well-paid jobs, stronger economies and lower costs for consumers,” can be read in a statement from the company, which highlights at the same time how the UK has become a market leader in marine elica and how “it is natural for local supply chains to develop”.

Siemens Gamesa, which has a wind turbine blade factory in Hull (East of England) currently expanding, has urged the EU and the United Kingdom to “continue to cooperate to achieve the objectives of the marine elica for all Europe” and has recalled that neither the British Isles nor the 27 can be isolated in the development of “offshore” parks. Iberdrola, the other Spanish company focused on the development of wind power in the British Isles through its subsidiary Scottish Power, has declined to comment on the alleged turbine “war.”

Sam Lowe, an expert in international trade at the “think tank” Center for European Reform, has warned that “national content requirements are not only prohibited by the trade and cooperation agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom, but are also banned by the World Trade Organization. “

However, Lowe draws a thin red line and ensures that the bottom line is whether the UK offers “preferential access to companies with supply chains within the country” or whether the question about “local content” included in the The form to be filled out by the applicant companies is for information only (they are also asked about creating local jobs).

To date, around 50% of the products required for wind power generation are manufactured in the UK. However, the European Commission fears that the Government has given the go-ahead to the local industry’s claim to reach up to 60% after Brexit. The strategy of Department of Business, Energy and Industry effectively establishes that the capacity of the national industry can reach 60% of the needs to build marine wind parks. The same document warns however that – according to the trade agreement with the EU – “there is no mandatory mandate for the use of British products in supply chains.”

With more than 11,000 turbines installed and a power of 24 gigawatts, the The United Kingdom has practically become the world leader in marine elica. Wind accounts for almost 25% of the energy pie and the “premier” Boris Johnson has proposed to turn the country into “the Saudi Arabia of the marine elica”, with the largest “offshore” parks in the world and the objective of reaching 40 gigawatts in 2030, enough to power 19 million British homes.


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