GE to Build New Factory for 107-Metre Offshore Wind Turbine Blades

GE Renewable Energy plans to open a new factory in Teesside in the North East of England, where it will manufacture 107-metre-long blades for the Haliade-X offshore wind turbine.

The new manufacturing plant, which will be set up and operated by GE-owned LM Wind Power, is planned to be opened in 2023 and to deliver wind turbine blades for the Haliade-X units that will spin at the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm, as well as other new large offshore wind projects.

“We’re incredibly proud to say Dogger Bank Wind Farm is the anchor project for the blade facility announcement by GE today”, said Dogger Bank Wind Farm Project Director, Steve Wilson. “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”.

Terms of the construction and financing of the new plant are in advanced stages of negotiation between the interested parties, GE said.

The factory will be located on Teesworks at the Teesside port, which was just designated as one of the UK’s newest freeports as part of the UK government’s support to ports and supply chains in reaching its goal to have 40 GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030.

“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 stated.

The new facility could create 750 direct renewable energy jobs and close to 1,500 indirect jobs in the area, according to GE.

“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”, said Hugh McNeal, CEO of Renewable UK.

GE’s LM Wind Power is currently producing blades for the Haliade-X wind turbines at the plant in Cherbourg, France. The facility has already produced the 107-metre blades for GE’s Haliade-X 12 MW offshore wind turbine. In 2019, two blades were shipped to testing facilities in the UK and the U.S., and three were assembled on the Haliade-X validation unit in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. 

In June 2020, GE Renewable Energy announced plans to recruit 250 employees at the LM Wind Power blade manufacturing site in France by the first quarter of 2021, to meet the increasing demand from the offshore wind sector.

At the beginning of this year, the wind turbine supplier also started expanding its nacelle production site in Montoir-de-Bretagne in France to accommodate the assembly of nacelles for the Haliade-X offshore wind turbines.

Photo: LM Wind Power; Blade factory in Cherbourg, France