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Vestas erects blade production facility on the Isle of Wight

Danish wind turbine manufactuerer created 800 jobs

Vestas erects blade production facility on the Isle of WightVestas erects blade production facility on the Isle of Wight

Danish wind energy giant Vestas is set to start manufacturing parts for its massive 8MW offshore turbines on the Isle of Wight from next year, as it seeks to take advantage of the UK’s burgeoning offshore wind sector.

The announcement comes as a new government and industry-backed report on Wednesday reiterated that the UK is the number one market for offshore wind energy in the world, with potential investment opportunities reaching £21bn by 2020.

Vestas said the blade manufacturing operations would take place at its R&D facility near Newport, which was previously at the centre of its controversial 2009 decision to scale back turbine manufacturing activities in the UK.

The company said the new blade manufacturing commitment was the first element of a new industrial strategy for the UK, which could have a positive impact of £200m on the economy.

Depending on its order book, Vestas aims to start serial production of 80 metre blades in the second quarter of 2015, which will be used for the new 8MW turbine that has provisionally been chosen for Dong Energy’s Burbo Bank extension project in Liverpool Bay.

Vestas, which become the subject of public protests when it closed its Isle of Wight factory in 2009, said the new industrial strategy would safeguard or create up to 800 jobs.

Vestas chief executive Jens Tommerup said the agreement underlined the company’s commitment to the UK offshore wind market. “MHI Vestas Offshore Wind will become the first manufacturer with the capacity to serial produce blades for future offshore wind projects in the UK, and we look forward to sharing further aspects of our industrial strategy in due course,” he said.

The news was welcomed by RenewableUK chief executive Maria McCaffery, who said it demonstrated the potential for offshore wind power to benefit the UK economy. “Now we need to make sure in the run up to the general election that politicians from all parties state their commitment to offshore wind and look to maximise the economic benefits from development of our great natural resource, in order to make certain this opportunity and others like it,” she said.

The news also helped to reinforce the findings of a government and industry backed report today, which set out the investment opportunities for the UK’s offshore wind market. The report highlighted how the UK consistently ranks as the most attractive country in the world for offshore wind investment and is now on track to install 10GW of capacity by 2020.

In related news, the Isle of Man yesterday moved forward with plans to install a 700MW offshore wind farm and two tidal power projects within its territorial waters.

Following a competitive bidding process, the Manx government confirmed DONG Energy as the preferred bidder for a 700MW offshore wind farm that could be completed by 2023.

It also announced that Manx Tidal Energy Ltd and Tocardo Tidal Energy had been selected as preferred partners for the development of two tidal power developments, as the Manx government seeks to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

Isle of Man minister for economic development Laurence Skelly, predicted the projects could bring in at least £5m of revenue per year directly to the Manx government. “There is also further economic development potential for the Isle of Man as these offshore installations will require onshore facilities to meet the operation and maintenance of the turbines,” he added. “We are estimating the creation of around 50-60 operation and maintenance jobs for just one offshore wind farm.”

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Vestas Central Europe
Edited by Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist / by Vestas Staff

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