General Electric, Siemens and Gamesa have all confirmed that they will now press ahead with plans to build wind turbine technology factories in the UK after government retained an investment pot for ports regeneration.
GE and Siemens, along with Mitsubishi, had said they would build plants to build offshore wind turbines in the UK which would employ up to 70,000 people but the commitment was dependent on government maintain a £60m funding pot for ports regeneration.
After £200m was put aside for offshore wind in last week’s spending review, David Cameron today launched a National Infrastructure Plan which includes the ports regeneration competition.
That prompted GE and Siemens to confirm that they will build their plants while Spanish wind turbine specialists Gamesa announced they will follow suit.
Gamesa is to set up a research and development site on UK shores as well as basing its international headquarters in London.
Trade organisation RenewableUK released a statement praising the Coalition’s decision to retain the funds.
“We need thousands of offshore turbines in the next decade and beyond,” it read. “To help secure private sector investment in this technology, we’re providing up to £60 million to meet the needs of offshore wind infrastructure at our ports. And to help move things forward, the Crown Estate will also work with interested ports and manufacturers to realise the potential of their sites. It’s a triple win. It will help secure our energy supplies, protect our planet and the Carbon Trust says it could create 70,000 jobs.”
The ports regeneration fund is to be administered by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (and grants will come from the Grant for Business Investment scheme. The Crown Estate has been tasked with helping wind turbine manufacturers and ports ascertain their requirements and scope for projects.