On the back of a government pledge of £60m to develop manufacturing and assembly sites, Siemens announced today that it will invest £80m in the UK for offshore wind power.
This major investment takes Britain a step closer to making recent political rhetoric and strategy around creating an advanced manufacturing, low carbon economy a tangible reality. It is a sign of real progress in the alignment of policy and industry for a more rational, stable relationship with common long term goals.
Such a significant investment in the UK from Siemens marks the UK as a top destination for offshore wind energy investment – Siemens’ announcement today makes it the fourth wind turbine manufacturer to choose the UK for major operations. This burgeoning sector is expected, with joint investment from industry and government to provide 70,000 new high skilled jobs by 2020.
The new plant planned by Siemens will provide an estimated 700 jobs for the north-east of England, a region that looks set to become a manufacturing honey-pot as government and private funding pours in to the mission of making it an advanced manufacturing heartland. Only yesterday One North East, a regional development agency, promised £1.5m to assist in a £20m offshore wind project in the same area.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson says “Siemens are a world leader in wind technology and this is a fantastic endorsement of the UK as a destination for renewable energy businesses. Siemens plans will provide hundreds of manufacturing jobs and many more in the supply chain – confirming the UK as a world leader in offshore wind.”
The UK chief executive of Siemens pays tribute to the way in which government have recently been working to make the UK an attractive investment prospect for key industries. “The UK government has created a stable framework to attract inward investment in renewables and offshore wind power in particular.
“The competition for land development, announced in the Budget last week, gives us confidence that the appropriate UK port infrastructure can be made available to support our production plans.”
Comments such as this seem to suggest that one year on from the release of New Industry New Jobs, the government initiative for strategic growth in economically critical markets, words and good intentions have finally started to find traction.
Given Lord Mandelson’s recent promises that Whitehall is working hard to come to grips with the complexities of supply chain strategy so that their investments are intelligently placed, there is cause to believe that the largess of industry growth will be spread around.