GE Renewable Energy says LM Wind Power’s blade manufacturing site in Cherbourg, France now has the requisite number of employees it needs to begin building blades for the Haliade-X offshore wind turbine.
The company said the site in Cherbourg is ready for the expected start of production in January 2019, beginning with a blade prototyping phase for the forthcoming 12-MW Haliade-X turbine. The facility now has more than 100 employees, 34% of whom are women. The company launched a recruitment drive for the Cherbourg facility in June 2018.
The first group of 30 newly-hired employees participated in the launch of the factory’s Centre of Excellence training centre in September, including a one-week theoretical class, followed by a week of practicing on a mould. After completing the course, trainees left Cherbourg to spend a month abroad at other LM Wind Power sites from Spain, to Denmark, Poland and Canada. Employees from LM Wind Power sites around the globe will also travel to Cherbourg to support the ramp-up of the factory. A second group started their training programme on 22 October.
The first blade produced at Cherbourg will be shipped to the ORE Catapult Research & Development Centre in Blyth in the UK for testing. The three next blades produced will be installed on GE’s Haliade-X 12-MW prototype at the end of Q2 2019, at an as yet to-be-determined site.
“We are developing a new product, a new blade of a size we have never achieved before,” said LM 107.0 project director Lukasz Cejrowski. In parallel to developing the LM 107.0 P blades for the massive turbine at Cherbourg, GE’s offshore wind team is focused on assembling the first two Haliade-X nacelles at the Saint-Nazaire manufacturing site in France.