The UK renewables sector received a big boost yesterday with the announcement that three major turbine makers, Siemens, Gamesa and GE are to invest in new facilities.
The announcements follow the Coalition Government’s confirmation of funding to development the country’s ports to support the burgeoning offshore wind industry.
Siemens says it is on track to build a new £80 million wind turbine factory by 2014, which will produce its new 150 m tall, 6 MW direct-drive offshore wind turbine for offshore wind farms.
The UK’s east or north east coast would be the preferred site for the facility, says Siemens, to provide the best access to the key Round 3 offshore development sites. The new facility will create 700 new jobs, says the company.
“The positive signal from the UK Government means we can push ahead with our strategy of investments in growth areas for renewable energy,” says Rene Umlauft, CEO of Siemens’ Renewable Energy Division.
Siemens is also part of the SMartwind consortium, which is developing the Hornsea site, and has stakes in the Gwynt y Môr and Lincs wind farm developments.
The company has also invested £8 million in an Energy Service training centre in Newcastle and set up a wind power technician apprenticeship scheme in conjunction with RenewableUK.
By 2013, Siemens says it will have doubled its renewables workforce in the UK.
Meanwhile, Spanish wind developer Gamesa has simultaneously announced plans to site its worldwide centre of its offshore wind energy business in the UK.
The plans, which will mean a €150 million investment before 2014, also include an offshore technology R&D centre and a turbine blade manufacturing plant.
The manufacturing facility will produce the company 5 MW and 6-7 MW turbines, which will be used in North Sea wind developments in coming years.
Gamesa says the investment, which will start 2011, will create over 1000 jobs and a further 800 at local suppliers.
Finally, US rival General Electric (GE) has also said it will continue with its £100 million investment plan to develop an offshore manufacturing facility in the UK.
The announcements have been welcomed by Prime Minister David Cameron.
“I want us to be a world leader in offshore wind energy,” he said. “The commitment shown by companies like Gamesa who want to come to the UK and invest is good news for jobs and growth and good news our clean energy future.”
For further information:
UK Green Investment Bank budget slashed in Spending Review (20-Oct)
Gust of new turbine orders for Siemens and Vestas (12-Aug)
Siemens to develop £80 million wind turbine factory in UK (29-Mar)
GE unveils €340 million expansion of European offshore wind efforts (26-Mar)
26 October 2010