Windfarm blade plant to open on Tyneside
US company Clipper plans first British factory in jobs boost for the North-east
Friday 19 February 2010
Britain's first factory making turbine blades for offshore wind farms will go into production in Newcastle this year, the US renewables group Clipper Windpower said yesterday.
The 4,000 sq m plant on the Neptune Estate, in Walker, on the banks of the River Tyne, will develop and build blades for the "Britannia Project" – the 10-megawatt turbine with 72-metre, 30-tonne blades being developed by Clipper. By 2020, the plant is expected to employ up to 500 people. The plan is backed by a £4.5m government grant, awarded last September, for developing both the blades and also gearbox technology for the extra-large turbines.
James Dehlsen, the Clipper chairman, said yesterday: "The offshore wind market in the UK is rapidly becoming one of the most exciting sectors in the global renewable-energy industry."
The Danish company Vestas Wind Systems closed its plant on the Isle of Wight last year which made blades for onshore wind farms. Clipper's plant will be both Britain's first offshore blade factory, and its only turbine maker.
The Government is keen to back the wind sector as a provider of green electricity and source of industrial growth. Both the Prime Minister and the Energy Secretary attended the launch of Clipper's plans in Newcastle yesterday. "The combination of our strong natural wind resource and the substantial backing we've given the industry mean the investment conditions in the UK are unrivalled," Gordon Brown said.
Britain missed the chance to develop a competitive supply chain for onshore wind farms and the market is dominated by Danes and Germans.
Trickier offshore technology is at an early stage, and so far represents only 1 per cent of the world's installed wind-power capacity. But it is a rapidly expanding market, as the technical challenges are met. And the economic implications are considerable. In the UK alone, the expansion needed to meet government targets for de-carbonising Britain's electricity generation represents employment of an estimated 70,000 people and investment of at least £100bn.
British manufacturing must grab the opportunity now if the offshore supply chain is not to be lost to European rivals, said Maria McCaffery, the chief executive of the British Wind Energy Association. "This development is going to happen anyway; whether or not we get the economic benefit from it will be a function of whether our manufacturing sector has an appetite for taking part," she added. "If not, all the jobs and economic development will go again to Germany, Denmark and Spain."
- 1 This is what happens when you tattoo Charmander on yourself, drunk, and with no experience
- 2 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer has leaked – watch
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a white stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...
£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...