Vestas plans offshore turbine factory in Kent

11th May 2011

11 05 2011 2

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International wind technology firm Vestas has taken the first steps towards building a manufacturing plant in Kent for its new 7MW offshore turbines.

Less than two years after the closure of its turbine manufacturing plant on the Isle of Wight, Vestas has signed an agreement for 70 hectares of land at the Port of Sheerness, with the aim of building a massive facility to build its new offshore turbines.

However, the plans will not go ahead until Vestas is satisfied it has enough orders for its huge V164-7MW turbines to make the site viable and is calling on the UK government to support investment in offshore wind through regulatory stability.

“We have shown our intentions to make major investments and subsequent job creation, but it is evident that we don’t just jump head first into an investment of this size. We need to make sure it makes sense business wise,” says Anders Søe-Jensen, president of Vestas Offshore.

“Before our customers can provide us with the needed order pipeline, they need to see stability in the market and a long-term political and regulatory certainty that ensures their business case. Making that happen lies in the hands of the policymakers.”

Søe-Jensen’s comments reflect a wider feeling within the sector that government needs to show it is behind offshore wind, according to RenewableUK, the trade body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries.

“45GW of electricity could be generated through offshore technology, of which only 1.3GW has so far been built. We need the government to recognise this potential and it would be great to see ministers use next month’s road map to a green economy to set ambitious targets for offshore generation. That would convey the sense of confidence investors want to see.”

Vestas claims its plans have the potential to create 2,000 new jobs in the area, but to get the required level of orders there needs to be long-term market and regulatory certainty and public investment support to make it viable to invest in such facilities.

The news of the deal came just two days after the Committee on Climate Change released a report stating that offshore wind targets should be reduced if the UK’s 2020 renewable energy targets can be met through less expensive renewable sources, such as onshore wind.

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