LM Wind Power will open a new blade manufacturing facility in Cherbourg, Normandy, France to cater to offshore wind industry.

The Danish wind turbine blade manufacturer plans to build the factory on a site developed by Ports Normands Associés (PNA), a port authority that includes the Normandy region and the Manche Department.

Groundbreaking ceremony at the new facility will take place this March and production at the factory is expected to begin by next June. The facility is expected to create about 550 jobs and more than 2000 indirect jobs in the region.

LM Wind Power says that the new factory will have the capacity to build the LM 88.4P, the longest blade in the world. It estimates that the operations at the factory can reach between 1.2-2GW.

Through the factory, LM Wind Power plans to serve the global offshore wind blades market. The supply agreement with GE to deliver blades to its Hailade offshore wind turbine has been a factor to build the factory.

Apart from this, the company stated that it was seeking a location which would be ideal for transporting larger turbines and blades for offshore wind projects, with a modern and efficient harbour. According to LM Wind Power, Cherbourg is an ideal location to transport such large structures.

LM Wind Power Offshore vice president Alexis Crama said: "This move recognizes the strategic growth of offshore wind energy in Europe and the emerging commercial opportunity for Cherbourg and the surrounding region.

“As a leader in wind turbine blade manufacturing, LM Wind Power has a proven track record of success in building long blades to meet the harsh and demanding challenges of marine operations.

“Blades of this enormous scale represent the leading edge of technology, reducing the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) to make offshore wind competitive with onshore wind, fossil fuels and nuclear energy. The addition of this new facility will bring significant, highly skilled, long-term, sustainable 'green' jobs to the region benefitting the economy and the local community."

Ports Normands Associés and of Normandy Region president Hervé Morin said: "The Region very strongly supports this expected and essential project for North Cotentin and Normandy. I am delighted with this excellent news. Since January, I have reached out to many people to make this project a reality.

“Beyond the support for the project, I agreed that the Region should make an additional effort and, take on part of the risks associated with possible delays due to the recourses affecting the French offshore wind farms."

 Image: LM Wind Power to construct wind turbine blade factory in France. Photo: Courtesy of LM Wind Power.