The revised plan 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.
Specifically, Siemens is investing £160 million across the two locations, and its port partner Associated British Ports (ABP) is investing a further £150 million in the Green Port Hull development. The investment will provide a huge boost to the UK’s offshore wind industry and the Humber region. The combined investments of £310 million will create up to 1,000 jobs directly, with additional jobs during construction and indirectly in the supply chain.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who was on site for the announcement, views the deal as a “massive vote of confidence” in the UK’s long-term economic plan.
“This investment is going to create lots of new jobs and opportunities, meaning more financial security and peace of mind for families and a more resilient economy for our country,” he said.
Ed Davey, Energy Secretary, concurred, calling the announcement “excellent news” for the people of Hull and the Humber, the UK, the wind industry, and the country’s energy security at large. “We are attracting investment by backing enterprise with better infrastructure and lower taxes,” he explained. “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.”
Moreover, Davey said the Siemens deal proves the UK’s 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.”
For Siemens, the decision to construct a production facility for offshore wind turbines in England is a key part of the company’s global strategy. “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,” said Roland Aurich, chief executive, Siemens, plc.
As a matter of rule, Siemens tends to invest in markets with reliable conditions that can ensure that factories can work to capacity. According to Michael Suess, member of the managing board of Siemens AG, the British energy policy creates a favourable framework for the expansion of offshore wind energy. “In particular, it recognizes the potential of offshore wind energy within the overall portfolio of energy production,” he stated.
The offshore wind market in Great Britain has high growth rates, with an even greater potential for the future, Suess notes. Research shows 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, Siemens figures.
Additional industry statistics support the vast potential for future growth for wind power in the UK. According to RenewableUK, the country has 22 offshore wind farms currently operational, with 5 under construction, 9 with planning consent and 9 awaiting approval. All totaled, the UK has installed 3,653MW of wind energy in UK waters — enough energy to power more than two and a half million homes. A further 14,763MW is in the pipeline – more than four times the current capacity.
‘Landmark moment’ for Humber region
The Green Port Hull project, which has been in the making for around four years, is the product of a huge team effort between many national and local political, business and community parties, as well as many people within Siemens in the UK, Denmark and Germany, and ABP. While the much-anticipated investment is a landmark moment for the UK offshore wind industry (observers say it is the first manufacturing plant of its kind for Siemens next-generation blade technology (IntegralBlade®) designed for Siemens SWT-6.0-154 6MW wind turbine), Green Port Hull is also a landmark moment for the Humber region — promising regeneration and the creation of many hundreds of new jobs and new skills.
It is estimated that Siemens manufacturing plans will help create around 1,000 jobs; 550 at the blade factory and 450 at Green Port Hull. This is a welcome boost to the economy and to Hull which will be City of Culture in 2017 when the factory will be up and running.
“The announcement by Siemens underlines the critical role the Humber region plays in servicing the UK’s energy needs, both today and in the future,” said James Cooper, ABP chief executive. “Our investment in Green Port Hull will ensure the supply chain supporting this exciting new industry can be centred on the Humber.”
Maria McCaffery, RenewableUK chief executive, agreed, calling the deal the “green-collar jobs game-changer that we’ve been waiting for. Attracting a major international company like Siemens to the UK, she says, proves that we can bring the industrial benefits of offshore wind to Britain. “This is a major coup for the British wind,” she stated.
According to data provided by RenewableUK, the British offshore wind industry already employs more than 12,800 people in direct and indirect jobs. Its research shows that, within the next ten years, that number could actually rise to as many as 44,000 jobs. Based on those projections, by 2030 the UK offshore wind sector will need dozens of factories making innovative, high-tech blades, turbine towers, cables and offshore substations.
“This is a massive economic growth area for UK plc – a clean energy industry for the future,” McCaffery said.
Siemens and ABP will be submitting planning applications to Hull City Council and East Riding Council over the next few months for revisions to the existing proposed scheme at Alexandra Dock and for land in Paull in East Riding for the wind turbine blade factory.
Green Port Hull is planned to be operational to meet Round 3 requirements in early 2016. The start of production at the blade factory is scheduled to be in the middle of 2016 will full production levels reached from mid-2017 onwards.
RenewableUK’s McCaffery believes this is just the start of something much bigger.
“Where Siemens are leading, a cascade of others will follow — and we’ll see very significant growth in the UK supply chain.”