Siemens and ABP invest €371m in UK offshore wind production

Manufacturing giant Siemens and its partner Associated British Ports (ABP) is investing a total of €371m (£311m) in new offshore wind production facilities in Britain.

Doubling the £80m investment it had originally announced, Siemens will now put up £160m to boost British offshore wind turbine production.

The company says British energy policy creates a “favourable framework for the expansion of offshore wind energy”.

Siemens CEO of the Energy Sector Michael 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.

“In particular, [Britain] recognises the potential of offshore wind energy within the overall portfolio of energy production”, he added.

The plans will see a facility built that produces rotor blades for offshore wind turbines and a new logistics and service centre based in Hull.

According to Siemens, the investment will bolster the strong offshore market in Britain and create 1,000 jobs directly, with 550 of these in rotor blade production and 450 in Green Port Hull.

Wind power capacity has doubled in Britain within two years, to roughly 10 gigawatts.

A capacity of 14 gigawatts is to be installed at sea in Britain, while projects for just over 40 gigawatts are currently in the long-term planning.

The British Prime Minister David Cameron commented: “Our constructive political environment enables us to provide new jobs for the wind power industry, together with a reliable and more sustainable energy mix.”

Green Port Hull is scheduled to take up operations at the beginning of 2016, with commencement of rotor production scheduled for the summer of 2016. Full capacity of the factory is to be reached starting at mid-2017.

Commenting on the investment, RenewableUK’s chief executive Maria McCaffery said: “This is a major coup for the British wind industry – it’s the green-collar jobs game-changer that we’ve been waiting for.

“Attracting a major international company like Siemens to the UK, creating 1,000 jobs manufacturing turbines at two sites in Yorkshire, proves that we can bring the industrial benefits of offshore wind to Britain. This is just the start – where Siemens are leading, a cascade of others will follow – and we’ll see very significant growth in the UK supply chain,” added McCaffery.

Leigh Stringer

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie