Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas plans to further expand its UK offshore wind production footprint, contingent on securing sufficient project volume in the upcoming Contracts for Difference (CfD) Allocation Round 4.
Following its recent re-entry into offshore wind, Vestas is now investigating the potential of expanding its UK footprint through additional manufacturing and supplier sites across the UK.
1000th Offshore Wind Blade Rolls Out
The company recently celebrated its more than 20-year history at its Isle of Wight facility in Newport with the production of its 1000th offshore wind blade from the facility, a V164-9.5 MW blade destined for the 1,075 MW Seagreen offshore wind project being developed by SSE Renewables and Total.
To increase the economic benefit of offshore wind to the UK, Vestas is currently engaged in discussions with potential partners that can competitively supply towers and additional blade manufacturing in the North East of the UK, and has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with several potential partners.
The company anticipates it could create nearly 2,000 direct jobs across the wind turbine manufacturing supply chain, if successful in securing enough project volume.
”With over 20 years in the UK, more than 1000 V164 blades now produced from the Isle of Wight for UK and European markets, and significant R&D activity on our cutting-edge blades taking place in the UK, we are truly committed to the UK,” Henrik Andersen, President and CEO of Vestas, said.
”We are extremely proud of the onshore and offshore wind expertise that we have built up in the UK and are positive about the market potential being created from the CfD Rounds. If successful in securing enough turbine orders from CfD Allocation Round 4, which includes a strengthened Supply Chain Plan policy for project developers, Vestas is intent on expanding its already sizeable UK footprint. We are in discussions with a number of potential partners and look forward to securing competitive solutions that augment Vestas’ activities in the UK, for delivery of future UK projects.”
Isle of Wight Facility to Manufacture World’s Longest Blades?
Vestas recently announced its next-generation turbine, the V236-15.0 MW turbine, which is due to be powered by 115.5 metre blades, a world-leading blade length.
The Isle of Wight manufacturing facility has the potential to be expanded for serial production of the 115.5 metre blades, enabling Vestas to leverage the wind expertise that the company has built up in the UK.
Since 2002, Vestas has manufactured more than 10,000 onshore and offshore blades on the Isle of Wight. Blades produced from the Isle of Wight have been used at both UK projects and exported to European projects.
Alongside existing and potentially future manufacturing and supplier activities, Vestas has also carried out blade technology research and development (R&D) for its latest turbine blade models on the Isle of Wight for the past 20 years, at a blade technology R&D centre located in West Medina Mills. This centre has been essential in the design and testing of 8 different blades types, including its latest onshore and offshore turbine platforms.
Vestas currently employs over 1,500 people in the UK, spanning blade manufacturing, R&D, construction, service, and other functions, over 700 of which are employed on the Isle of Wight.
The company has installed over 5.3 GW of wind turbines in the UK already, and is currently supplying several projects with blades from its Isle of Wight facility. Current installation projects include the 857 MW Triton Knoll and 950 MW Moray East wind projects currently under construction, and the 1,075 MW Seagreen wind farm, due to be Scotland’s largest renewable energy project once installed.