Hundreds of construction jobs will be created by £310 million of investments by Siemens and Associated British Ports (ABP) to create wind turbine manufacturing and associated port facilities at Hull.
The investment is being seen as a major shot in the arm for the UK’s offshore wind manufacturing prospects and should be a catalyst for other significant investments.
Siemens will invest £160 million in two new factories, the first wind farm manufacturing plants of their type in the UK, to make giant turbine blades and generators for Round 3 offshore wind farm projects in the North Sea. Three years ago the company had planned an £80 million investment plan for the site but worldwide over capacity in turbine manufacturing and uncertainty over the scale of government subsidies led to it being shelved.
Siemens will build a plant called Green Port Hull to open in 2016 that will make the generators and other component parts. The second plant at Paull, east of Hull, will make 75 metre long turbine blades, part of Siemens’ six megawatt turbine which is hailed as the next generation technology, with each one capable of providing enough electricity for 6,000 homes.
Production at Paull is to be achieved by early 2016 with full production in 2017; Green Port Hull is to be operational by early 2016. Up to 1,000 permanent jobs are expected to be created between the two manufacturing plants.
ABP will invest £150 million at Alexandra Dock to handle the turbines as they are shipped out to North Sea installations. A 600 metre riverside berth will be constructed to handle the turbine components.
The investments are seen as a landmark for the UK offshore wind industry.
UK wind power capacity has doubled in the UK over two years to some 10 gigawatts, with another 14 gigawatts of offshore capacity to be installed by 2020, and projects for over 40 gigawatts are being considered.
Matthew Chinn, Managing Director of Siemens Energy UK and Ireland said: “Siemens is a leader in offshore wind and the investment demonstrates our ongoing commitment to UK manufacturing and confidence in the industry. The development of local manufacturing will provide a huge boost to the UK renewables industry and will help unlock other major projects and investments.”