So long Sheerness


June 29, 2012

This content is from our archive. Some formatting or links may be broken.

So long Sheerness. At least, that’s as far as Vestas’ plans for its European offshore factory site are concerned.

As early stage reports made clear, the Danish manufacturer has not renewed an option agreement that it had had in place and as a result, is scrapping plans to build its V164-7.0MW units in Kent.

However, for those working in the market, the development wasn’t quite such the surprise that some would have led you to believe.

After all, with the manufacturer struggling to return to profit, and with the business continuing to streamline its manufacturing model – focusing on fewer, more profitable turbines – the desire to set up an entirely new facility and to tool up, would have been a tough sell. Even to the most thick-skinned of investors.

Combine this with the small challenge for Vestas of actually booking a 7.0MW order and for Sheerness, it’s easy to see why its card was quickly marked.

Undoubtedly, both government policy and ongoing financial uncertainty certainly played its part. And in this regard it’s worth noting that an increasing number of manufacturers and investors are demanding greater clarity on UK energy strategy before they commit fresh funds.

However, to suggest that the market is exclusively dependent on the whim of policy makers and bureaucrats is a dangerous set of assumptions to make.

After all, let’s just remember that while governments can (in theory at least,) help reduce barriers to entry and provide a credible framework for growth, they’re not the ones who will roll their sleeves up and do the actual job.

That means that when it comes to building the networks and winning the contracts, it’s the manufacturers and those working in the thick of it that will be calling the shots.

And that involves making tough decisions not just when markets are fully up and running and operational but also right now – when the foundations, the factory’s and the facilities to support the supply chain are already being put in place.

One of the big arguments within European wind at the moment is that not enough is being built at sufficient speed and that even the stuff that is already underway, is taking too long to come online.

However, while speed is certainly of importance, so to is the need for balanced and manageable growth.

As the North American energy market has demonstrated time and time again, it’s all too easy to slip into a cyclical scenario of boom and bust.

That type of market might foster talent and work for some; however it does little to alleviate long-term sector uncertainty.

Plans for Sheerness might have been put on ice for now but so long as ambitions for long-term prosperity remain, the sky has not yet fallen in.

Investment expertise. High-quality events. Exclusive content. Lead generation.

Talk to the Tamarindo team today to find out how membership would benefit your business.

Related content


Finland kicks off 3GW offshore wind tender

November 24, 2023


Vestas wins 509MW orders in the US

November 24, 2023