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UK wind giants stockpile against no-deal Brexit chaos

Siemens Gamesa and ScottishPower executives confident in measures to mitigate cross-border problems

Major UK renewables players are confident stockpiling will help them ride out any immediate border chaos resulting from a no-deal Brexit, the WindEurope conference in Bilbao heard.

Executives from turbine-maker Siemens Gamesa and developer ScottishPower Renewables both said they have put measures in place after identifying cross-border logjams as the biggest short-term risk of a no-deal scenario – possible as soon as 12 April because of political paralysis in the UK’s parliament.

“The biggest risk is getting goods in and out of the country, getting them through customs, getting them through ports,” said Clark MacFarlane, UK managing director for Siemens Gamesa, which brings in key components for its offshore wind turbine plant in Hull, northeast England.

“We as an organisation have put extra stock in the UK in order to put a mitigation on that.”

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Hazel Gulliver, director of policy and regulation at ScottishPower Renewables, which is developing major wind projects both on- and offshore, said the company’s procurement strategy was adjusted as part of its Brexit planning.

“Where’s the biggest problem likely to be? At the border,” said Gulliver. “We implemented our own mitigation measures to make sure that what we did need was in the UK in the first three months of this year.”

Uncertainty over the outcome of Brexit has not dampened enthusiasm for Britain’s next contract-for-difference (CfD) support auctions, Karl John, a renewable energy specialist for the UK Department of International Trade, told a panel on Brexit at the conference.

John said the offshore wind sector – which the UK government sees as a “jewel in the crown” of its energy policy – was “very, very buoyant”, with interest in the May CfD round running well ahead of the pipeline on offer.

“I don’t think we’re seeing any attrition,” said John, who stressed that the growth of the UK offshore wind sector is underpinned by the country’s ambitious climate and emissions goals.

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