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Vestas ditches plans for UK turbine factory

Vestas has scrapped plans for a wind turbine factory in the Port of Sheerness delivering a blow to the UK government’s efforts to bring large-scale wind turbine manufacturing to British shores.

The company acquired the rights to the land in Kent a year ago, with the intention of building its new V164 7MW offshore wind turbine model there.

But in a joint statement today, the Port of Sheerness and Vestas said that the development of the facility would not proceed “at this stage”. A spokesman for the Danish company told news wires that the decision was taken due to a lack of orders.

"Such a factory is conditional on concrete orders in our order book and we have not announced any signed orders at this point," the spokesman told Reuters. "We want a good pipeline of orders before we advance further and we do not have that at this point in time."

Vestas will manufacture and test the first components for the V164 7MW turbine at its existing facility on the Isle of Wight, with installation of first prototype expected in 2014 in Denmark. Serial production of the turbine will not start until Vestas feels the market has developed, and it has firm and unconditional orders from customers, the company said.

Construction on the UK’s third round of offshore wind development, which will see some of the world’s largest turbines deployed, is due to start from 2014. In an official statement, Vestas said it remained committed to the UK and Scottish offshore wind markets, where total capacity is expected to reach 8GW by 2016.

Juan Araluce, chief sales officer at Vestas, said: “Vestas’ strong commitment to the development of both the offshore and onshore wind industries is not affected by this decision. We will remain active across the two markets in the UK as they both continue to show considerable potential.”

Peel Ports, the owner of the Port of Sheerness, said the port would continue to try and boost its presence in the renewables market. “We are extremely disappointed that we have been unable to conclude the agreement with Vestas,” said Peel Ports chief executive, Mark Whitworth. “However, we remain fully committed to the strategy outlined for the Port of Sheerness of attracting major renewables manufacturers.”
 

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