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Green taxes hit wind turbine makers

Key components for wind turbines such as cement, steel and blade lubricant are becoming too expensive to make in the UK because of green taxes, according the CBI.

Many green taxes are raised to help fund Britain’s attempt to generate a third of its electricity from wind power by 2020. However, the CBI, the business group, pointed out yesterday that many taxes have become “counter-productive”.

Ironically, key parts for wind turbines are produced by industries that require a great deal of energy during manufacturing, such as cement-makers and steel-makers. These heavy industries are being increasingly taxed.

John Cridland, the CBI director-general, called on the Government to exempt struggling manufacturers such as cement makers from the Carbon Price Support, which “risks tipping energy-intensive industries over the edge”.

“We’re already seeing warnings from companies like Ineos that its chlorine plant in Runcorn could become uneconomical under the sudden introduction of the proposed carbon floor price,” he said. “Tata Steel is facing the same problem. One major construction company is now finding it will soon cost less to import its cement from Spain than to produce it at its UK plant. Yet Tata makes the steel that goes into the turbines. Ineos makes the lubrication that helps the blades turn. And we need up to 150 tonnes of cement to generate every megawatt of offshore wind.”

Speaking at the CBI energy conference, Charles Hendry, the energy minister, said: “The UK has a challenging renewables target. We are committed to meeting this and in doing so bring a massive boost to the UK’s manufacturing industries.”