The company will also locate design, application and service engineering resources for offshore wind in the UK creating up to 1900 new jobs in total by 2020.
GE says the investment is tied to the deployment of the UK Government’s port development fund announced in the 2010 Budget.
“Offshore wind will play a vital role in meeting the growing global demand for cleaner, renewable energy,” says Magued Eldaief, Managing Director, GE Energy UK.
“We believe offshore wind has a bright future here in the UK and are delighted that the UK Government yesterday committed to further developing this important sector. These GE investments will position us to help develop Europe’s vast, untapped offshore wind resources, while also creating invaluable new jobs for both GE and our suppliers in the UK.”
New 4 MW offshore wind turbine
GE plans to produce its next generation wind turbine at the UK facility – a 4 MW offshore wind turbine.
The offshore wind turbine has direct drive and control technologies gained through the acquisition of ScanWind. ScanWind’s direct drive has already been operating at a test site in Norway for five years.
Wind investment across Europe
GE has also announced wind energy investment in three other European countries.
GE will set up a new engineering centre for product development, application engineering and advanced technology in Hamburg. The company will also expand its resources at its existing wind turbine manufacturing facility in Salzbergen and the GE Global Research Centre in Munich.
This could result in around 100 jobs and €105m investment in Germany by 2016.
In Oslo, GE plans to create an Offshore Technology Development Centre. Furthermore, GE will expand its demonstration unit production and service facilities in Verdal. Together with Nowitech Research Centre, GE will participate in joint research projects on offshore wind.
Norway is the planned site for testing and demonstration of the 4 MW offshore wind turbine.
GE plans to invest around €75m in Norway by 2016, which could result in around 100 jobs.
GE’s current offshore wind facilities are to be expanded by developing a Conceptual and Systems Design Centre in Karlstad.
A technology demonstration unit is planned to be installed in Gothenburg harbour, and GE will join the Chalmers Wind Energy Centre in Gothenburg.
Total investment in Sweden by 2016 could be €50m, creating around 50 new jobs.
Dr. Gordon Edge, RenewableUK Director of Economics and Markets, says: “Towards the end of 2009 we have started seeing the first signs of a manufacturing rebirth around the UK’s offshore wind energy sector. Now that all Round 3 sites have been taken up and the potential scale of offshore developments stands at over 40 GW, there is a palpable sense of opportunity.
“RenewableUK has long maintained that strong and co-ordinated Government support for the UK to become the leading global centre of expertise for offshore wind energy can result in thriving manufacturing clusters and 57,000 jobs by 2020.
“The fact that some of the world’s best known companies such as Mitsubishi and General Electric have now decided to invest in the UK and base their offshore operations here, shows that such support pays dividends.”