The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) is looking at government support to help the industry move ahead with its current projects. BWEA will submit a list of measures including loan guarantees and other measures. UK wind sector has won more subsidies to make the recently launched third round of offshore wind licensing more attractive. Even after these measures the industry wants further support to tide over the problems.

BWEA Chairman Adam Bruce said If this [downturn] had happened two years ago it might have killed the industry. It is much more robust now, but clearly there are schemes that are under threat unless help can be obtained.

The BWEA is not sure of the kind of help it wants from ministers as it is still being worked out, but loan guarantees and specific aid from the European Investment Bank may be expected. Some short-term ­financial ­support would also be required by the industry similar to the ­government provision for the private finance ­initiative.

One of the major problems in the industry is that all turbines are imported when the value of the pound is very low against the dollar and euro. Vestas Wind Systems A/S ships equipment from Denmark, ­pushing up the relative cost for UK wind developers. But the company closed a turbine factory at Machrihanish, Scotland, set up in 2003, on grounds of little demand.

Centrica plc, with GBP4 billion wind energy program, has already sounded the alarm over the perilous economics of the industry. The company said in 2008 that soaring costs, coupled with the rise in the cost of financing, meant that we need to revisit all our numbers to ensure that our projects are economic before we give them the go-ahead.

Alternative energy analysts at HSBC Group Holdings expect the ­industry to shrink by 20% in 2009 although they are still hopeful that economic stimulus measures in Britain, the US and China will trigger some kind of bounce back in the second half of 2009.

BP Alternative Energy and Royal Dutch Shell plc have abandoned all plans for developing wind farms in UK in 2008 in favor of the US, where the tax treatment – and planning regime – is considered far more favorable.