United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Siemens to build EUR 190m UK blade plant

UK: Siemens has finally committed to spending £160 million (EUR 190 million) to build a wind turbine manufacturing plant at Hull, north-east England, three years after it was first announced.

The factory will be located in the north-east of England
The factory will be located in the north-east of England

In a statement, Siemens said the factory will produce blades for the 6MW offshore turbine, as well as provide logistics and services.

Around 1,000 jobs will be created. Of these 550 will be in rotor blade production, with the remaining 450 in the logistics centre.

The rotor blade plant will be operational by 2016 with full capacity expected to be reached a year later. It will have a maximum capacity of 200-300 blades a year.

The facility was originally granted construction permission in 2012, while the memorandum of understanding between Siemens and Associated British Ports (ABP) was signed in January 2011.

At the time, Siemens said it planned to invest £80 million in the plant, with ABP contributing £130 million. Approval from the local concil was received in 2012.

Since then, there had been a "will they, won't they" series of questions surrounding the future of the project. Like many in the wind industry, Siemens was concerned by economic uncertainty surrounding the UK's electricity market reform.

There were also concerns that Siemens was looking elsewhere for the manufacturing of the 6MW. In 2012, the company announced it was expanding its Aalborg facility in Denmark to build the 75-metre version of the 6MW blade.

The decision to commit to Hull will be officially announced in the city today, by Siemens Energy CEO Michael Suess and UK prime minister David Cameron.

Speaking about the deal, Suess said: "Our decision to construct a production facility for offshore wind turbines in England is part of our global strategy. We invest in markets with reliable conditions that can ensure that factories can work to capacity.

"The British energy policy creates a favourable framework for the expansion of offshore wind energy. In particular, it recognises the potential of offshore wind energy within the overall portfolio of energy production."

Siemens is the first turbine manufacturer to commit to building a large-scale manufacturing plant in the UK to supply the country's offshore sector.

Others, such as Gamesa/Areva and Alstom, are still looking at the market. Vestas and GE have both cancelled plans to build plants, with the latter pulling out of offshore altogether.

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