A multi-million pound investment to transform Hull’s docks into an international hub for the off-shore wind power industry reaches a milestone today, when the first of hundreds of turbine blades to be manufactured at the site every year will be unveiled.
The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark MP, is due to visit Siemens’ new wind power factory to see the first £75m blade that has been produced since the German engineering firm’s £310m investment in the city.
The blade has been manufactured for Siemens’ 7MW (megawatt) and 8MW turbines and will be among the first supplied to DONG Energy for the Race Bank wind farm - which is due to be fully operational in 2018 off the Norfolk and Lincolnshire coast.
Mr Clark will also view 90-metre turbine towers which have been assembled at the dockside ahead of a January delivery to Dudgeon offshore wind farm, also off the Norfolk coast; the first project to be serviced by the new facilities in Hull.
Mr Clark said: “This is exactly the relationship we want to see between our large infrastructure projects in the UK and our supply chain companies as part of our industrial strategy.
“Hull has established itself as an important manufacturing and engineering centre for this innovative and exciting new industry.”
The Tunbridge Wells MP said the factory will supply new offshore wind projects capable of generating clean electricity to power more than 3m homes over the coming years.
Michael Hannibal, chief executive of offshore at Siemens Wind Power, said: “This new manufacturing plant is a major part of establishing offshore wind power as a key pillar of a sustainable energy mix in Europe.”
Brent Cheshire, DONG Energy’s UK country chairman, hailed the opening of the Siemens factory as “another positive step forward for the UK supply chain”.
Siemens received more than 23,000 applications for jobs at the site and has employed almost 700 people to date, with 96 per cent of its workforce living within a 30-mile radius of Hull.
Another 100 permanent staff are based at Alexandra Dock working for Siemens’ suppliers.
The recruitment of up to 1,000 people continues into 2017 as the site becomes fully operational.
Siemens UK chief executive Juergen Maier said: “We’re witnessing probably the best example of industrial strategy in action we have in the UK today - creating new, local, skilled jobs, sustainable growth and the latest renewable technology, benefiting the UK economy and our society.”
HULL’S ‘WORLD SCALE HUB’
Siemens’ factory and associated facilities are Hull’s largest-ever inward investment.
Construction on the site - the size of 78 football pitches - began at Hull’s Alexandra Dock less than two years ago and was built ahead of schedule and within budget.
According to Siemens, the engineering giant and partner Associated British Ports have transformed the under-used waterfront location into “a world-scale hub for wind power manufacturing, logistics and assembly”.
The development constitutes one of Siemens’ largest-ever investments worldwide in manufacturing facilities.