Vestas has announced plans to build a new offshore wind turbine manufacturing facility in the UK to take advantage of the country’s renewable energy expansion plans.
The Danish wind turbine maker has scaled back manufacturing capacity in Europe over the last two years but says that the recent launch of its new 7 MW offshore wind turbine demands new facilities.
It has signed an option agreement for 70 ha of land at the Port of Sheerness in Kent, southeast England that would allow it to build a fully integrated offshore wind turbine manufacturing and installation facility.
The uptake of the land option is subject to a “satisfactory” order intake of the new V164-7.0 MW turbine, says Vestas, which is planning to start serial production of the 7 MW units in 2015.
The company has called on the government to help ensure that the offshore wind turbine market continues to grow.
“Before our customers can provide us with the needed order pipeline, they need to see stability in the market and a long term political and regulatory certainty that ensures their business case,” said Anders Søe-Jensen, President of Vestas Offshore. “Making that happen lies in the hands of the policy makers, so we are looking forward to seeing the UK government providing the best possible terms for the offshore wind industry to truly take off and the potential jobs becoming a reality.”
The new production facility would secure around 2000 direct and indirect jobs.
In 2009 Vestas closed a manufacturing facility on the Isle of Wight in the UK, and closed further facilities in northern Europe in 2010, because of reduced demand for wind turbines in the European market.
The UK has put offshore wind energy development at the heart of its renewable energy expansion plans and could install up to 40 GW of offshore wind energy generating capacity by 2020.