GE Renewable Energy has confirmed that LM Wind Power, a GE Renewable Energy business, is to build a factory on Teesside to manufacture blades for its Haliade-X offshore wind turbine
GE Renewable Energy president and chief executive Jerôme Pécresse said, “This new plant will contribute to the development of an industrial cluster dedicated to offshore wind in the northeast of England.
“GE is delighted to be announcing a commitment to develop a new talent pool dedicated to renewable energy through the hiring and training of future employees for the new plant. The UK’s target to commission 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030 is ambitious and requires that we invest in local production capabilities to accompany this effort.”
The UK Government has provided support to GE Renewable Energy to set up the new plant as part of a greater effort to develop an industry and supply chain for the development of offshore wind in the country. This follows the designation of Teesside as one of the UK’s newest freeports.
Responding to the announcement, RenewableUK chief executive Hugh McNeal said, “GE Renewable Energy’s new blade manufacturing plant will transform a former steelworks on Teesside into a high-tech clean energy powerhouse, creating thousands of highly-skilled jobs in our UK supply chain.
“The 2020s will be a decade of delivery. GE’s announcement marks the start of the next generation of offshore wind manufacturing in the UK.
“This plant will produce state-of-the-art turbine blades not only for the world’s biggest offshore windfarm, Dogger Bank, but also for export to fast-growing international markets, capitalising on our global lead in this technology. Industry is working closely with government to maintain the UK’s pole position and our globally competitive supply chain.
“The news builds on the Chancellor’s landmark announcements last week to support offshore wind manufacturing hubs on Teesside and Humberside. I am confident we will see more new investment coming into the UK supply chain in the months and years ahead.”
As OWJ reported in November 2020, GE has been considering three potential sites at which to manufacture blades for the UK market.
GE’s plan to build a factory in the UK is a major coup for Boris Johnson’s government and will create significant employment opportunities. The blade factory is expected to create up to 750 direct and up to 1,500 indirect jobs in the region.
The Prime Minister said, “Teesside will continue to drive forward our green industrial revolution as we capitalise on new opportunities to produce clean energy through a brand new offshore wind port on the River Tees. It will not only create thousands of jobs and harness the skills and expertise of this great industrial heartland, but also boost investment in the area as we build back greener.”
In September 2020, Dogger Bank Wind Farm and GE Renewable Energy signed a contract for the 13-MW Haliade-X turbines for Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B. The award covers the supply of 190 Haliade-X 13-MW turbines, split evenly at 95 turbines for each of the first two phases of the project. GE is also the preferred supplier for the third phase of the project, Dogger Bank C. This phase of the project is due to reach financial close in late 2021. An uprated, 14-MW version of the Haliade-X turbine will be supplied for this phase of the massive project.
Dogger Bank project director Steve Wilson said, “We are incredibly proud to say Dogger Bank is the anchor project for the blade facility announcement by GE. Dogger Bank is a world-leading project pushing the boundaries of offshore wind development and playing a key role in delivering the ambition to increase UK supply chain capacity and capability. Through our turbine supply order with GE, the Dogger Bank project is the catalyst for this important GE investment, harnessing skills and expertise in the local area and delivering long-term benefits in the UK’s offshore wind sector.”
The Haliade-X 13MW is an enhanced version of the successful 12-MW prototype unit which has been generating power in Rotterdam since November 2019 and recently secured its provisional type certificate from DNV.
Blades produced in Teesside will be installed at Dogger Bank from 2024 onwards.