GE Secures Approval for New UK Wind Turbine Blade Plant
The battle to supply turbines for UK offshore wind gained momentum when GE Renewable Energy announced that it has won approval for its proposed turbine plant in Teesside, a port town in northeast England.
With the new approval from local authorities, GE subsidiary ‘LM Wind Power’ will build and operate the facility at the Teesworks freeport, a location well-suited to serve the vast offshore wind potential of the North Sea.
The facility will be dedicated to the production of GE’s 107-meter-long offshore wind turbine blades, which were specifically designed for the Dogger Bank project in the North Sea. When completed, Dogger Bank will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
The blade is a key component of GE’s Haliade-X, the most powerful offshore wind turbine currently on the market. The three phases of the Dogger Bank wind farm will be powered by Haliade-X and will have a combined generation capacity of 3.6 GW, enough to power six million UK homes. The wind farm is slated for completion in 2026.
“We are delighted to have received this important approval from the local planning authorities and are thankful for the collaboration between all parties involved, including Teesworks and the South Tees Development Corporation,” said Olivier Fontan, LM Wind Power President & CEO.
GE intends to begin construction of its blade plant just weeks after the world’s largest offshore wind turbine manufacturer, Siemens Gamesa, revealed it was investing nearly $260 million to expand its factory in the UK. It is a critical market: Britain remains the top spot globally for offshore wind capacity, with almost 11 GW of installed capacity. The government is pursuing a goal to reach 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030 - the most ambitious target of its kind in Europe.
GE estimates the new plant will be set to open and start production in 2023. It could create up to 750 direct jobs and up to 1,500 indirect jobs in the area to support the entire value chain.
“Once completed, it will play a central role in our ambitions to become a powerhouse in the growing UK offshore wind sector and add a huge amount to our clean energy credentials,” said Ben Houchen, Tees Valley's mayor.
The offshore wind industry is in expansion mode globally, not only in the UK. BloombergNEF data shows that total investment in the offshore wind sector rose to $50 billion in 2020, up from $32 billion in 2019.