Belfast Telegraph

Brexit would 'put at risk' UK's global wind industry hopes

Britain's push to become a world leader in the offshore wind industry could be blown off course by a vote for Brexit, according to the boss of Siemens UK.

Chief executive Juergen Maier said the UK could become the industry's global hub for research and development (R&D), but would struggle to achieve this goal outside the EU.

He said the UK's efforts to become a centre of innovation in the sector would be negatively affected by Brexit because it would become harder to network with key R&D regions across Europe.

It comes as Siemens and Associated British Ports push ahead with a £310 million investment in Hull to build the country's first purpose-made factory for manufacturing offshore wind turbine blades, creating more than 1,000 jobs.

Speaking to the Press Association from the International Festival for Business in Liverpool, Mr Maier said: "Hull is currently serving the domestic UK market and in the short-term a Brexit vote wouldn't scupper our plans because we see a strong pipeline coming through the strong British market.

"However, the real opportunity is not just the domestic market, it's the exports and future technology, and that would be much less optimistic outside the EU."

He added: "We need to network with R&D hubs in other European countries, the UK needs to be a hub within that network. If Britain decides being outside the EU is better, then that becomes a lot harder."

"A Brexit vote would put Britain's hope of becoming a global centre for offshore R&D at risk."

Siemens announced on Friday that it plans to merge its wind power business with Spain's Gamesa to create the world's biggest builder of windfarms.

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