Swedes kill off Dutch solar energy developer

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Dutch energy supplier Nuon is about to close down an innovative solar energy plant in Arnhem because of cuts by its mother company, Vattenfall in Sweden.

Last year, when the Swedes gained ownership of the Dutch energy giant, Vattenfall formally committed itself to continuing the existing business strategy regarding renewable energy. The Swedish company now appears to renege on its pledge, a report in daily claimed on Thursday.

Groundbreaking The intended closure of the Helianthos solar cell factory in Arnhem is a blow to Nuon's former shareholders. They consented to the sale last year on condition that investments into renewables would continue. Helianthos made groundbreaking progress in the development of cheap foil-based solar cells which could find a wide range of applications, more so than the current expensive and weighty glass-based solar panels.

China Job losses in the Arnhem area, in the east of the Netherlands, appear certain. Even a takeover would offer little solace to the 60 employees, many of whom are highly qualified researchers. There is one potential buyer for the Helianthos plant, Chinese energy investor Hanergy, but they intend to move the facility lock, stock and barrel to China.

Vattenfall company documents quoted by say that the innovative technology developed by the Arnhem factory is "ready to be scaled up", but further investment is shunned because solar energy is "not the core business of either Nuon or Vattenfall".

Earlier this week, the Swedish energy multinational also scrapped a planned extension of the Thanet wind farm, off the coast of Southeast England, setting its sights on  gaining hydropower concessions in France instead.


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