The United Kingdom’s Brexit vote last week has claimed its first major renewable energy casualty, with German-based wind power giant Siemens suspending new investments in the UK until the country’s relationship with the European Union is clarified.
While the 1,000 jobs in a £310-million manufacturing hub in Hull, England “will not be affected by the decision,” The Guardian reports, “an existing blueprint to export offshore wind turbine machinery from the Hull hub [is] now up in the air.”
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“Those plans were only beginning to happen, and I expect that they will stall until we can work out exactly what the plan is, how we can participate in EU research programs, and until all the issues around tariffs and trade have been sorted out,” said Siemens UK CEO Juergen Maier.
Major business relationships for the Hull plant include a wind farm in Scotland that received £525 million in EU funding, as well as a Belgian consortium that netted £250 million.
Maier urged the UK government to open negotiations with the wind industry before it formally begins the departure process under the appropriate section of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU’s founding document. “We definitely can’t wait until Article 50 has been triggered,” he said. “People will be holding off on major investment decisions, and this is why we need to get together as soon as possible and see that a plan is put in place.”
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