GE Renewable Energy plans new wind blade factory in UK
GE Renewable Energy plans to open a new blade manufacturing facility in Teesside in the North East of England. LM Wind Power plans to set up and operate this plant which will be dedicated to the production of its 107-meter-long offshore wind turbine blades, a key component of GE’s Haliade-X, the most powerful offshore wind turbine in operation today. Terms of the construction and financing of the new plant are in advanced stages of negotiation between the interested parties.
GE Renewable Energy estimates that this new plant, set to open and start production in 2023, could create up to 750 direct renewable energy jobs and up to 1,500 indirect jobs in the area to support the entire value chain needed to operate this facility. This announcement and commitment support the UK government’s plan to develop jobs, infrastructure, and supply chains to reach its goal to commission 40 GW of offshore wind power by 2030 and become a global leader in green energy.
As part of that plan, Teesside has just been designated as one of the UK’s newest freeports. GE Renewable Energy’s new blade manufacturing plant will be located on Teesworks, an ideal location to serve the vast potential of the North Sea.
“This new plant will contribute to the development of an industrial cluster dedicated to offshore wind in the North East of England. We are delighted to announce such a commitment for the renewable energy industry, we believe it will help develop a strong talent pool through the hiring and more importantly training of future colleagues. The UK’s target to commission 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030 is ambitious and requires that we invest in local production capabilities to accompany this effort,” said Jerôme Pécresse, president and CEO of GE Renewable Energy.
This announcement is the result of strong partnerships built with key stakeholders such as the UK Government, the Tees Valley Mayor, Teesworks and its municipality.
“GE Renewable Energy’s new blade turbine manufacturing plant will transform a former steelworks site on Teesside into a high-tech clean energy powerhouse, creating thousands of highly-skilled jobs in our UK supply chain. This announcement marks the start of the next generation of offshore wind manufacturing,” Hugh McNeal, CEO of Renewable UK, said.
The Dogger Bank Offshore Wind Farm, which is located between 125 km and 290 km off the east coast of Yorkshire, would benefit directly from the blades produced at this new plant. The three phases of the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, powered by GE’s Haliade-X offshore wind turbine, will have a combined installed generation capacity of 3.6 GW, enough to power six million UK homes. When complete in 2026, it will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
“We’re incredibly proud to say Dogger Bank Wind Farm is the anchor project for the blade facility announcement by GE today. Dogger Bank Wind Farm is a world-leading development pushing the boundaries of offshore wind development and playing a key role in delivering the ambition to increase UK supply chain capacity and capability. Through our turbine supply order with GE, the Dogger Bank project is the catalyst for this important GE investment in Teesside, harnessing skills and expertise in the local area and delivering long-term benefits in the UK’s offshore wind sector,” Dogger Bank Wind Farm Project Director, Steve Wilson, said.
GE Renewable Energy already employs close to 1,500 people at its UK facilities, with the majority located between Stafford (GE Grid Solutions) and its LM Wind Power engineering center in Southampton.
GE Renewable Energy has already announced an investment of USD20 million in R&D and testing activities for its Haliade-X offshore wind platform – mainly in the UK – and continues to partner with ORE Catapult in Blyth on areas such as innovation, R&D and testing major components.
With this plant, the company is further expanding its renewable energy industrial footprint in the country. GE is also working closely with its suppliers to develop a local sourcing base in the UK for some critical components of offshore wind turbines.