Siemens has signed a memorandum of understanding with Associated British Ports ABP for the development of a turbine manufacturing plant at ABP's proposed Green Port Hull development at Alexandra Dock, Port of Hull. ABP is the UK's largest ports group, which owns and operates 21 ports in England, Scotland and Wales.
The plant is the first of a number of new turbine facilities planned by various manufacturers for the UK in the coming year, all hoping to cash in on the country's offshore wind jackpot, which will be worth more than 117 billion euros US $154 billion in the coming decade. The UK's Round 3 awards for offshore windfarms is expected to generate more than 25 gigawatts GW of electricity.
Other companies planning new turbine plants include General Electric, renewable energy company Gamesa Corporation S.A.
and Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe Limited, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Limited.
"The competition to get to this stage has been fierce," said Matt Jukes, ABP port director for Hull. "We always knew we had a good offer, but for Siemens to say we acknowledge that and we want to work with you, it's monumental news for ABP and for the city."
A key factor in Hull's win is its proximity to some of the largest planned offshore windfarms, including Hornsea and Dogger Bank.
Siemens first announced its intention to build an £80 million US $126 million plant in the UK last March, having signed a memorandum of understanding with the previous government. Siemens assessed more than 100 ports in the past year, narrowing its search to the east and northeast coast of the country. The new plant will be the first to build Siemens' new direct-drive offshore wind turbine with a capacity of 6 megawatts MW.
According to Siemens: "Green Port Hull at Alexandra Dock is an established port complex, with excellent access from the road and an adjacent deep water berth. The existing harbour revision order can be amended to enable the export of wind turbines manufactured at the dock. We will now enter into a process with the port focused on finding the optimum solution for the factory, with a view to a contract for build and delivery."
The news was welcomed by the UK government, which has been working hard to kick-start its offshore wind strategy by attracting wind turbine manufacturers to the country.
UK Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "This announcement by Siemens and ABP is a real vote of confidence in the future of offshore wind energy. I'm pleased Siemens has recognized the great potential of the UK and is pressing ahead with this project to create a world-class centre of wind turbine production in Hull. The development of green technologies is a real opportunity for our advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors to grow and build on the UK's position as the sixth-largest manufacturer in the world."