New wind turbine manufacturing site for the Isle of Wight

Posted on 15 Aug 2008 by The Manufacturer

A Danish wind turbine manufacturer is to build a new development and testing facility on the Isle of Wight. The firm today reported a lengthy backed up order list for its wares as the global push towards renewable energy facilities continues.

Vestas Wind Systems, with £5.7 billion worth of forward orders as of the end of June, will use some of the £77 million profit it has made in the first half of this year to fund the centre on the English Island-county, located off the South West Coast. To be operational in mid 2010, the facility will provide capacity for designing, manufacturing and testing new turbine blades which it claims will be the longest in the world.

Vestas already has production facilities on the Island having first touched down in 2000. It currently employs 1,100 staff there and this will rise to 1,500 by 2010. The blades currently made at the centre are exported to the US but the new ones will be compatible with the types of turbines being bought in the UK and thus will be sold here.

The firm said the development will form the “fifth major leg” of its research and development, adding to its facilities in India, Singapore, Denmark and the USA.

Vestas’ success adds weight to the call to arms from leading manufacturing analysts for more UK firms to enter the increasingly lucrative renewable technology market.

Ray O’Donoghue, national head of manufacturing at Barclay’s Commercial Bank, recently told The Manufacturer he would like to see “world-beating environmental technologies that the UK can sell on a global scale.” He cited the UK’s advances in motorsport as a development which could be channeled into the renewables industry.