UK Government

Department of Energy and Climate Change: Newcastle factory to make world’s biggest wind turbine blades

Press Release   •   Feb 18, 2010 10:09 GMT

The latest £8m funding for offshore wind technology was made available today as the Prime Minister hailed the UK as a 'global leader' in the offshore wind market.

The announcement came as Clipper Windpower confirmed that it is to start construction of a factory in Newcastle to build the biggest wind turbine blades in the world.

Visiting the site where Clipper today confirmed it will employ up to 500 people by 2020 to manufacture blades for the massive 10 megawatt ‘Britannia’ offshore wind turbine, the Prime Minister said:

“I welcome Clipper’s ground-breaking announcement to build the largest wind turbine blade in the world on the banks of the Tyne. The UK is a global leader in offshore wind power, and the North East is at the forefront in providing the skills, expertise and enterprise to capitalise on this rapidly expanding market, which has the potential to create thousands of future green jobs.

"The combination of our strong natural wind resource and the substantial backing we’ve given the industry mean the investment conditions in the UK are unrivalled."

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband, also visiting the Clipper site, called for proposals for the latest allocation of government funding for offshore wind technology development:

“Government support can help make the difference between Britain leading in the new offshore wind industry or simply being a follower. The UK already has more offshore wind installed than any other country in the world and our plan is to build on that position.

“The £8 million being made available today will be invested in projects to support the development of a new generation of turbines. This is in addition to the £18 million already awarded, and the recent decision to issue rights for 32 gigwatts of capacity– the biggest expansion of offshore wind of any country in the world.”

Notes to editors

1. The Department of Energy and Climate Change today launched a third call for proposals for capital grant funding for component/technology development in the offshore wind sector, following the success of the first two calls under the Environmental Transformation Fund (ETF).

2. The Third Call has a potential value of up to £8 million to support the deployment of next generation offshore wind. Projects must employ technology that is significantly different from that currently available. Any grants awarded under this scheme must be claimed in full by 31 March 2011.

3. Under the previous two ETF calls, about £18m of grants were awarded to:

- Siemens  – to develop a new power convertor for their next generation offshore turbine.

- Vestas  – to design and develop advanced manufacturing processes, testing and certification for a large multi-megawatt offshore blade.

- Clipper  – to develop their 72m offshore blade for a 10MW offshore turbine and to develop a new gearbox design for use in 10MW offshore turbines.

- Artemis  – to develop a new hydraulic transmission system for larger offshore turbines.

- Mitsubishi– to develop design and supply chain capability for a new design of offshore turbine.

- Burntisland Fabrications– to develop advanced manufacturing for a jacket foundation.

- Teeside Alliance Group  – to develop advanced manufacturing processes for monopile foundations.

4. Clipper Windpower today announced that its subsidiary Clipper Windpower Marine Limited is to open a manufacturing facility for wind turbine blades at the Shepherd Offshore Renewable Energy Park in Walker, Newcastle.

5. The new factory is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2010 and by 2020 it could employ a local workforce of over 500 people.  It is expected that the UK wind industry overall will support up to 70,000 jobs by 2020.

6. The factory will be used to develop and build blades for the ‘Britannia Project’, a 10MW offshore wind turbine prototype under development by Clipper.

7. The Department of Energy and Climate Change is central to the UK Government’s leadership on climate change.  We are pushing hard internationally for ambitious effective and fair action to avert the most dangerous impacts.  Through our UK Low Carbon Transition Plan we are giving householders and businesses the incentives and advice they need to cut their emissions, we are enabling the energy sector’s shift to the trinity of renewables, new nuclear and clean coal, and we are stepping up the fight against fuel poverty.


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