Teesside firm Able welcomes Siemens' £160m wind farm plans

Billingham-based Able has welcomed the news that Siemens is to go ahead with multi-million pound plans for facilities at Hull

Peter Stephenson, founder and Executive Chairman of Able UK
Peter Stephenson, founder and Executive Chairman of Able UK

Billingham-based Able has welcomed the news that Siemens is to go ahead with multi-million pound plans for facilities at Hull, describing it as strong and positive message that the Humber will be a world-class centre for the renewable energy industries.

The company said the long-awaited announcement on the development at the proposed Green Port Hull, was a key element in the overall blueprint for establishing the ‘Energy Estuary’ along with its own development of the Able Marine Energy Park on the south bank of the river.

Able’s executive chairman Peter Stephenson said: “When the suggestions that Siemens may come to the Humber were announced over three years ago we welcomed it as a great vote of confidence in the potential of the Humber—and that still remains the case today.

“Of course things have moved on considerably since then—not least the Government’s approval for AMEP which, with over 900 acres and 1,279m of heavy duty deepwater quays, will provide the multi-user facility which can act as the catalyst for creating the ‘cluster’ of businesses, large and small, needed to exploit the opportunities for the manufacture, assembly and deployment of the equipment needed for the next generation of offshore turbines.”

Stephenson’s comments come after manufacturing giant Siemens announced it is to invest £160m in wind turbine production and installation facilities in the UK, creating 1,000 new jobs.

The German firm had been working on plans to invest £80m, which would have led to 700 jobs, but it has decided to revise its plans, giving a boost to the offshore wind industry.

The work will be spread across two sites comprising the previously announced Green Port Hull project construction, assembly and service facility and a new rotor blade manufacturing facility in nearby Paull, in East Riding.

Siemens will invest £160m across the two locations and its port partner Associated British Ports (ABP) is spending a further £150m in the Green Port Hull development.

The Able Marine Energy Park plans
The Able Marine Energy Park plans
 

The combined investments of £310m will create up to 1,000 jobs directly, with additional jobs during construction and indirectly in the supply chain.

Siemens said it will be the first manufacturing plant of its kind for the firm’s next-generation blade technology designed for wind turbines.

Each rotor blade is 75 metres long and when rotating covers an area the size of two-and-a-half football pitches.

Michael Suess, member of the managing board of Siemens and chief executive of its energy sector, said: “Our decision to construct a production facility for offshore wind turbines in England is part of our global strategy. We invest in markets with reliable conditions that can ensure that factories can work to capacity.

“The British energy policy creates a favourable framework for the expansion of offshore wind energy. In particular, it recognises the potential of offshore wind energy within the overall portfolio of energy production.

“The offshore wind market in Great Britain has high growth rates, with an even greater potential for the future. Wind power capacity has doubled here within two years, to roughly 10 gigawatts. By 2020, a capacity of 14 gigawatts is to be installed at sea alone to combine the country’s environmental objectives with secure power supply. Projects for just over 40 gigawatts are currently in the long-term planning.”

Roland Aurich, chief executive of Siemens, said: “Being able to further increase our presence in the UK with this significant commitment is great for Siemens, for the UK economy and for future generations, who will benefit from more secure and sustainable, low carbon energy.”

Siemens employs around 13,700 workers in the UK, including 4,000 in the energy sector.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “This deal is excellent news for the people of Hull and the Humber, the UK, the wind industry, and our energy security. We are attracting investment by backing enterprise with better infrastructure and lower taxes.

“As well as helping to keep the lights on and putting more than 1,000 people in work, this deal means we will help to keep consumer bills down as we invest in home-grown green energy and reduce our reliance on foreign imports.

“This deal shows our strategy for offshore wind is working; bringing investment, green jobs and growth, and helping keep Britain the number one country in the world for offshore wind.”

Energi Coast, North East England’s offshore renewables supply chain group, said the firm’s decision to build offshore wind turbine blades in East Yorkshire will be a huge boon to the region’s supply chain.

Joanne Leng MBE, deputy chairman of Energi Coast, said: “Siemens decision to invest in Hull reaffirms the importance of the East Coast of Britain to the offshore wind industry. The addition of a blade manufacturer to the UK is a real boon to the UK’s supply chain. Siemens endorsement of UK manufacturing could also offer opportunities to established suppliers, including those from the North East, that have products, skills and services that can support Siemens operations.”

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