Energy secretary Ed Davey helped break ground at Siemens' offshore blade manufacturing plant in Hull’s Alexandra Dock.
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The construction of buildings for the blade manufacturing and wind turbine assembly facilities is due to begin in the summer, and production of the first blades is scheduled for winter 2016.
“The development will help to drive down the costs of offshore wind. It marks the beginning of a new industry based here and exporting worldwide,” Davey said.
Siemens committed to building the £310m SWT-6.0-154 blade manufacturing plant in East Yorkshire last March, three years after it was first announced.
The company expects to employ 1,000 people at the site, which will have the capacity to produce 600 blades a year for the UK’s offshore market. Up to 550 people will work in the manufacturing facilities, while a further 450 will be employed in the logistics and servicing centre.
It was announced at the groundbreaking ceremony the first project that will use the facilities will be 402MW Dudgeon off the Norfolk coast. Siemens will use the factory and quayside for part of the installation of the 6MW turbines.
Michael Hannibal, Siemens offshore CEO said: “We are also pleased to be able to announce so far in advance the destination of the first turbines to be shipped from Hull.
“The UK offshore wind market has seen strong growth, with even greater future potential. By 2020, 14 gigawatts of wind power capacity is to be installed in UK waters.”
Siemens was the first turbine manufacturer to commit to building a large-scale production facility in the UK to supply the country’s offshore sector.
Since then, MHI Vestas has announced plans to lease Vestas’ production facilities on the Isle of Wight to produce blades for the V164 8MW turbine. Siemens is partnering on the rotor blade factory and the facility for wind turbine equipment assembly with Associated British Ports (ABP) which owns and operates the dock. ABP is also investing £150m in the project.
Other offshore manufacturers, such as Gamesa/Areva and Alstom, are still looking at the market.