MHI Vestas Offshore Wind will serial manufacture the 80m blade for the V164-8.0 MW, the world’s most powerful offshore wind turbine on the Isle of Wight off the southern coast of the UK.
The announcement is the first part of a wider industrialisation strategy in the UK which is expected to result in up to £200m worth of economic impact, including investment and safeguarding or creating up to 800 jobs.
As part of the strategy, MHI Vestas Offshore Wind will lease the production hall at Vestas’ blades technology centre on the Isle of Wight from 1 January 2015. Production of blades could commence in the second quarter of 2015 depending upon a pipeline of firm and unconditional orders.
CEO Jens Tommerup said the agreement underlines MHI Vestas Offshore Wind’s commitment to the UK offshore wind market.
“We are extremely pleased to publically announce the first stage of our industrial strategy here in the UK, the world’s largest offshore wind market,” said Tommerup and continues: “MHI Vestas Offshore Wind will become the first manufacturer with the capacity to serial produce blades for future offshore wind projects in the UK, and we look forward to sharing further aspects of our industrial strategy in due course.”
UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: “The energy sector is powering Britain’s economic recovery – the UK is already the world leader for investing in offshore wind, and 2,250 green jobs were created this year in our wind industry. We are building on that success with our historic reforms to the electricity market.
“The blades that MHI Vestas Offshore Wind will manufacture are being designed, tested and produced in the UK. This is another great example of how our offshore wind industry is attracting global investment – not just in building the turbines themselves but right across the supply chain and right across Britain.”
The R&D facility on the Isle of Wight was opened in 2011 and was specifically designed to develop large blades for the latest wind turbines. The facility consists of two halls 170m long and 50m wide, one for testing and verification, and one for blade production, which will be leased by MHI Vestas Offshore Wind.
“The Isle of Wight is a world class R&D centre for developing and testing blades. The blades for the V164-8.0 MW prototype were designed, manufactured and tested at the Isle of Wight facility so we have developed the unique skills and processes necessary to manufacture blades which makes it a good location to have the capacity to ramp up to serial manufacturing,” said Jens Tommerup.
Vestas will continue to conduct research and development of blade technology on the Isle of Wight, including the testing and verification of the V164-8.0 MW which is being finalised by Vestas on behalf of MHI Vestas Offshore Wind. The lease of the production hall will have no impact on Vestas employees working in R&D on the site.
Press release; Image: MHI Vestas Offshore