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U.K. Politician Loses Wind Farm Job on Siemens Family Conflict

A U.K. junior government minister has lost his remit for wind-farm planning because his brother holds a senior position at Siemens AG, the world’s third-biggest maker of wind turbines.

The Department for Communities and Local Government in April took away the responsibility from Nick Boles, who has been the minister for planning and development since September, the ministry said in an e-mailed statement. His brother Jonathan is the financial head for Munich-based Siemens’s wind power operations in Europe, according to the latter’s LinkedIn profile.

“This was in the light of his brother’s employment with Siemens and his planned return to the U.K. from Germany,” the DCLG said in the statement, adding it wanted “to avoid the perception of any potential conflict of interest.”

The U.K., which is the world’s largest offshore-wind market, said yesterday it will commit 66 million pounds ($100 million) to expand the offshore-wind supply chain and finance research to cut costs. The industry growth could add 7 billion pounds a year to the economy by 2020.

Siemens, which manufactured 83 percent of the offshore wind turbines installed in Europe in the first half, trailed only General Electric Co. and Vestas Wind Systems AS in terms of installed megawatts globally in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Siemens replaced Felix Ferlemann, the head of its wind unit, with Marcus Tacke in July after faulty blades prompted the stopping or slowing of rotation speeds at 707 wind turbines, largely in North America. The unit’s profit declined about 68 percent to 21 million euros ($28 million) in the third quarter, or 1.2 percent of the company’s total, burdened by a 91 million-euro charge for the turbine repairs.

A Siemens spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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