Siemens, along with scheme partner Associated British Ports, has announced that they will invest a total of £310 million into the development of the UK’s first purpose built factory producing offshore wind turbine blades. As turbines used in the UK until this point have been made overseas and imported, this is expected to cut costs considerably whilst at the same time creating around 1,000 new jobs in the plant’s home city of Hull.
Although several proposals for factories of this kind have been put forward in the past, with Siemens originally submitting plans for a plant in Hull in 2010, none have managed to get off the ground until this point.
Siemens and ABP will now revise existing plans for the facility in Hull’s Alexandra Dock before applying for planning permission from Hull City Council. They will also be seeking to obtain land from East Riding Council in order to build a factory which will manufacture wind turbine blades in Paull.
Chief executive of ABP, James Cooper, voiced his excitement at the upcoming project as well as pointing out the benefits of the Humber’s role in wind farming.
He said; “The announcement by Siemens today underlines the critical role the Humber region plays in servicing the UK’s energy needs, both today and in the future.
“Our investment in Green Port Hull will ensure the supply chain supporting this exciting new industry can be centred on the Humber.
“We are delighted that Siemens has chosen to partner with us to realise this exciting project.”
Wind farming is already heavily subsidised by the Government as a means of fulfilling energy targets, yet faces a high level of criticism due to the environmental impact. Protest groups argue that the large rotary blades endanger wildlife, yet this risk will surely be lessened as wind farming moves increasingly off-shore.
Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the news, saying; “This is a massive vote of confidence in our long term economic plan.
“This investment is going to create lots of new jobs and opportunities, meaning more financial security and peace of mind for families and a more resilient economy for our country.”
The Hull factory is due to begin production around two years from now, and reach maximum efficiency the following year.