The location of Repower's UK manufacturing and assembly facility will depend on which Round 3 contracts the company wins. Repower is currently in discussions regarding potential contracts for all Round 3 projects with the exception of Hornsea, which will be supplied with Siemens components from its base in Hull.
Norbert Giese, Repower's vice-president of offshore development, said establishing a manufacturing base in the UK was necessary given the size of the country's burgeoning offshore wind market. The firm currently operates a 20,000-square-metre facility at the port of Bremerhaven in northern Germany. Repower expects its UK facility will be of a similar size.
"The UK has excellent knowledge of working in offshore energy, which we don't really have in Germany. In Germany we have good mechanical and engineering skills," said Giese. "Putting the two together at a UK-based offshore manufacturing hub is a good combination". Repower already has a presence in the port of Barrow on England's north-west coast, from which it has supplied the Ormonde offshore wind farm. It also has a base in Edinburgh, which mainly supports its UK onshore business.
Giese stressed that Round 3 orders must come first, but that preparatory work to identify suitable sites was under way to ensure that Repower can act quickly once contracts are agreed. He said Repower is looking for a port location that can accommodate large offshore vessels: "We have a requirement for a heavy-load platform for large components. Many container terminals are not suitable and suffer from soft estuarine foundations."
Repower is aware of the time pressures it will face once a location has been chosen. It could take 15-18 months to build the facility, while the first consents for Round 3 are likely to be awarded in 2013, with the first turbines installed by 2015. Giese confirmed that Repower expects to supply Round 3 clients with its new 6MW offshore turbines. Towers, nacelles and blades will be built in the UK, while gearboxes, generators and foundations will be imported.