£310m Hull plant will take windfarm technology to new level

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    Greg Clark welcomes 700-job factory, which will produce hundreds of 75m-long blades a year for a new generation of offshore windfarms.

    The first batch of 75-metre-long wind turbine blades will roll out of a new factory in Hull on Thursday, destined for huge windfarms off the UK’s coast.

     Long wind turbine blades like these will be produced at Siemens’ new plant at Alexandra Dock, Hull. Photograph: Paul Langrock/Agentur Zenit/Siemens AG
    Long wind turbine blades like these will be produced at Siemens’ new plant at Alexandra Dock, Hull. Photograph: Paul Langrock/Agentur Zenit/Siemens AG

    The inauguration of the Siemens plant at the city’s Alexandra Dock employs 700 people and was hailed by campaigners as an example of how curbing carbon emissions could create jobs.

    Greg Clark, the energy secretary, is due to attend the opening of the £310m facility, which he said was the sort of project he wanted as part of the UK’s industrial strategy. The UK leads the world on offshore wind power, but other European countries such as Germany are catching up.

    “In the coming years the new offshore wind projects that this factory will supply could generate enough clean electricity to power over 3m homes and businesses – all with wind turbine blades produced by the dedicated and highly skilled Siemens workforce right here in Hull,” said Clark.

    The facility’s blades are much longer than those on previous generations of wind turbines, and will be deployed on bigger, more powerful windfarms further off the coast. The first batch will be delivered to a 580MW windfarm being built by Dong Energy 17 miles (27 km) off Blakeney Point, Norfolk, which is expected to be complete by 2018. The factory is expected to build hundreds of the blades each year.

    “This is a fine example of the new jobs and investment that people across the UK can expect to see if the government backs offshore wind in its industrial strategy and emissions reductions plans,” said Dr Doug Parr, Greenpeace chief scientist.

    “But for this to take off, companies needs a strong signal from the government that Britain is open for business and is still an attractive investment environment for cutting-edge renewable technologies and infrastructure, such as offshore wind or solar and battery storage.”

    The green energy trade body, RenewableUK, called the plant “a key part of our nation’s modern industrial strategy”.

    Renewable sources provide around a quarter of UK electricity generation, but since coming to power in 2015 the government has ended subsidies for onshore windfarms and solar panels. Ministers have continued to indicate their backing for offshore wind, but have delayed spelling out how much support it will get beyond 2020. More detail is expected in the 2017 budget.

    Source: theguardian.com

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