Siemens Gamesa chief executive Andreas Nauen has confirmed the company is planning a blade manufacturing facility in the US and is also considering working with partners on other components for offshore windfarms, such as towers
In a webcast for the company’s Q1 2021 results, Mr Nauen highlighted the importance of local economic benefits from offshore wind and of job creation.
He said it was important to ‘localise’ production and explained that Siemens Gamesa is addressing how best to do so, beginning with Dominion Energy’s 2.6-GW project off the US east coast, for which Siemens Gamesa’s SG 14-222 has been selected. Turbine installation for the project is due to be completed by 2026.
“There is already a huge expectation (in the US) about local jobs,” he told the webcast, “but unfortunately these are very often state by state jobs.”
“More and more auctions are coming, in which we are participating with our clients. As part of our project with Dominion Energy, we are looking at creating local economic benefits.
“Other states are also looking at offshore wind and we are looking at how we can localise certain equipment, but in the end we have to strike a balance between being very competitive and at the same time creating local jobs.
“It remains to be seen with the additional momentum the new administration will put into offshore wind, how that will play out.
“Up to now we have focused on a blade facility in Virginia, then potentially equipment like towers, which we don’t produce ourselves, which we could localise together with partners.”
As first highlighted by OWJ in February 2020, Siemens Gamesa has been considering a blade fabrication facility in the Hampton Roads area.
Providing testimony at a Virginia House Committee hearing on new legislation that would provide for the construction of up to 5.2 GW of offshore wind for the state by 2034, Siemens Gamesa head of government affairs Abby Watson said the company was “actively examining” a US$200M blade manufacturing facility in the Hampton Roads area.
Addressing the hearing on 7 February 2020, she said the facility, if built, would employ as many as 750 people, including operations and maintenance activity once windfarms had been built.
“We have a market-leading 4.3-GW of backlog for projects in the US and are actively involved in discussions with stakeholders in several states on how to localise our supply chain to benefit local communities,” Ms Watson said. “We have had very robust conversations with stakeholders in the Commonwealth and are actively considering a blade manufacturing facility to support that order backlog.
“This facility would allow us to export to projects outside Virginia and would maximise the economic development benefits for the Hampton Roads region. I have heard it said that an offshore wind hub of the type that exists in Europe could not be built in the US,” Ms Watson said. “We disagree.”
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