Hornsea 3 project 'challenging' after budget, says wind farm developer
The head of environment for major wind farm developer Orsted says the chancellor's budget is a "real disappointment" and has made the company's planned Hornsea 3 development off the coast of Norfolk "challenging".
Benj Sykes said his industry is being squeezed by rising costs and interest rates, and needed a more comprehensive and generous tax incentive and industry growth package than the small improvements offered by the chancellor.
He told Sky News: "We were really hoping that we would see a response to what we and other project owners have been looking for from the chancellor and he's focused his efforts in other areas.
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"It's a real disappointment.
"It certainly makes (Hornsea 3) challenging.
"We've been very clear that this is a project that brings fantastic jobs, through construction and through decades of operations, and we really want to make sure we can realise that, but the chancellor has certainly not made that easier.
"We remain determined to find every opportunity to get this project on track.
"When can we take that final investment decision? That's still not clear after what we heard yesterday."
Five-fold increase in offshore wind capacity by 2030
If it goes ahead, Hornsea 3 will be the largest wind farm in the world.
Located about 75 miles off the Norfolk coast, the £8bn project would generate enough electricity to power more than three million UK homes.
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It is due to begin production in 2026 and is crucial to the government's ambitions to deliver a five-fold increase in offshore wind capacity by 2030.
After years as a world leader in wind power, the UK is now facing fierce competition from both the US and EU, both of which have agreed substantial subsidy packages in the global race to become a clean energy superpower.
'Other countries are really hot on our heels'
Ana Musat, executive director of policy for industry body Renewable UK, said: "We're one of the largest investors in UK infrastructure, generating jobs right across the country.
"But I think we can't really take that position for granted.
"It's not just us now, leading the way with minimal competition from abroad.
"Other countries are really hot on our heels.
"So we really need to make sure that we don't just stick a plaster on a problem and that we don't announce piecemeal measures.
"We need to make sure that all of that is integrated within a comprehensive strategy to enable growth of the sector.
"We can't really emphasise enough the pressures that the sector is facing.
"We can't really afford to wait anymore."
The government is due to set out further measures to encourage investment in the UK's wind power and clean energy industry, including nuclear generation.
It has committed to decarbonising power generation by 2035.
A government spokesperson said: "We are taking significant action to encourage investment in renewable generation, including our renewable energy auctions, which just last year contracted record capacity of almost 11GW of clean energy.
"Today we published the budget for the next auctions - which will now run annually to attract further investment.
"We are working together with the sector, including all offshore wind developers, on how we can further increase our energy security and independence through greater renewable deployment."
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