Jobs bonanza as offshore wind plant comes to Hull

A MAJOR offshore wind turbine manufacturing plant looks set to be built in Hull, bringing thousands of potential jobs to the region.

Engineering and technology giant Siemens and port operator Associated British Ports (ABP) have agreed to develop plans for the facility at Alexandra Dock.

The announcement is a welcome boost to the city - just two weeks ago Hull City Council launched proposals to axe up to 1,400 jobs as it aims to cut 40 million from the budget.

The deal would place Hull at the centre of the UK's wind turbine production and could create thousands of jobs.

A spokeswoman for Siemens said: "Siemens and Associated British Ports (ABP) have announced today that they have signed a memorandum of understanding in connection with ABP's proposed Green Port Hull development at Alexandra Dock, Port of Hull.

"The parties have agreed to work together to develop plans for the construction of a new Siemens offshore wind turbine manufacturing and export facility at the port with the aim of executing definitive agreements in 2011."

Benj Sykes, director of innovations at the Carbon Trust, said: "A development of this kind would be an enormous shot in the arm for the UK's world-leading offshore wind industry and a perfect example of green growth needed to drive the UK's economic recovery. Our analysis shows that offshore wind alone could create 70,000 jobs by 2020."

Council leader Carl Minns said: "Today's announcement is a massive deal for Hull, and we are delighted that Siemens have chosen the city as their preferred place to invest.

"We have been working with ABP for over a year now to make sure that Hull has a strong and deliverable offer, and Siemens have obviously recognised that.

"This presents a fantastic opportunity for Hull and a new era of prosperity for the region.

"The council will move heaven and earth to make sure local people have the access to the training and development they will need to have the skills for the jobs coming to the city."

Mark Jones, head of economic development and regeneration, who is leading the council's project team, said: "We have been presented an enormous opportunity for the city and we have in place a full-discipline project team to work alongside ABP and Siemens to ensure that the necessary permissions are in place in the shortest possible timescale.

"We will also lead the response on skills and supply chain benefits to ensure that the investors have a single point of contact that can respond in a timely and professional manner, creating the maximum benefits for the investor and the city."

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "This announcement by Siemens and ABP is a real vote of confidence in the future of offshore wind energy. I'm pleased Siemens has recognised the great potential of the UK and is pressing ahead with this project to create a world-class centre of wind turbine production in Hull.

"The development of green technologies is a real opportunity for our advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors to grow and build on the UK's position as the sixth largest manufacturer in the world.

"The demand for low-carbon technology will grow and grow. This Government is committed to ensuring that the UK benefits from that demand."