MHI Vestas announces £200 million UK plan

UK: MHI Vestas has announced plans to lease Vestas' production facilities at its Isle of Wight plant to produce blades for the V164 8MW turbine, the first part of a wider UK production strategy.

Vestas' Isle of Wight plant

The V164 blade was developed at Vestas' Isle of Wight research and development facility, prior to the launch of the offshore joint venture between MHI and Vestas. Since then the blade has continued to be tested at the plant.

In a statement, MHI Vestas said production would begin in Q2 2015. The move is the part of "a wider industrialisation strategy in the UK" that would worth around £200 million (EUR 255 million)and 800 jobs, the company added.

There has been speculation MHI Vestas will follow Siemens and build a dedicated factory in the UK to assemble the V164.

Speaking about the decision, MHIVestas CEO Jens Tommerup said: "We are extremely pleased to publically announce the first stage of our industrial strategy here in the UK.

Speaking at RenewableUK's annual conference where it was announced, Tommerup elaborated on MHI Vestas' plans. He said: "We are not announcing specific years for leasing. The £200 million of economic activity is for the full establishment of manufacturing in UK... there's no specific timeline on it. It will depend on the market."

Asked by Windpower Monthly earlier this year about the prospect of building a UK plant, Tommerup hinted it would have to because "some countries have local-sourcing rules".

In 2011, Vestas announced plans to build a factory for the V164 in Sheerness in Kent, southern England, which would have manufactured blades and nacelles. Vestas cancelled it a year later despite securing construction permission. There was speculation this was due to a lack of orders.