Green jobs hope over bid to build towers for turbines

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MORE green jobs could be coming to the Humber after it emerged that a manufacturer is considering a site near Hull to build towers for offshore wind turbines.

A new factory could be built on 200 acres of land at Paull, to the east of the city, to support the proposed Siemens factory at nearby Alexandra Dock, and supply towers for the vast wind farms planned for the North Sea.

The towers, which stand 100m high, are currently built in Germany, Denmark and Asia, and a new factory would require a new rail link to Hull docks.

Mark O’Reilly, director of Team Humber Marine Alliance, which represents more than 100 marine engineering-related companies, said the new factory could be “one of many”.

“I don’t think people understand yet the size of the opportunity,” he added.

“The nacelles that are built will need towers.

“Because of their sheer physical size it makes more sense to build them on site and prevent the shipping of what are 100m long 6m diameter turbines.

“There are so many elements to this – with potential cable factories and so on.

“If you have a nacelle factory, you have to have the towers, the blades have to come in from somewhere, you have to have the foundations, you have to have the vessels that deploy them... there’s likely to be an operations and maintenance base in Hull (similar to the one in Grimsby)

“The Siemens factory is due to be completed at the end of 2014 – and in the world of business that’s not far away.”

A planning application for the Siemens factory, which will manufacture nacelles, which convert the blades’ rotation into electricity, is due to be heard by members of Hull Council’s planning committee next month.

As well as creating as many as 300 construction jobs, the £210m plant would employ 700 engineering workers and potentially support thousands of other jobs in associated industries.

Meanwhile Able UK plans to build Europe’s largest offshore wind park on the south bank of the Humber – a £450m development which alone would create more than 4,000 jobs.

Chairman of the Humber Local Economic Partnership Lord Haskins said: “Marine and renewable energy related manufacturers are already here in a big way and they are fully able to rise to the challenges ahead.

“Other opportunities are already starting to come through and discussions have taken place with an offshore wind tower manufacturer about a possible new plant in the LEP’s enterprise zone at Paull.

“Potentially, this will see them manufacture the 100-metre steel towers needed to support the new 6MW turbines.”

He added: “This would require massive investment including other infrastructure such as the installation of a linking rail line to Hull docks.

“The Humber has always been important to the UK for energy with a third of the country’s coal and oil supplies transported through the region – now it’s offshore wind.”

Businesses are also being encouraged to attend the Manufacturing the Green Economy event, sponsored by new Team Humber Marine Alliance member, Nabarro LLP, on Wednesday April 4 at the Willerby Manor Hotel in Willerby, between 8.15am and 12.30pm.

Tickets – with prices ranging from £78 to £114 including VAT – can be booked online at: http://manufacturinggreeneconomy.eventbrite.com