Siemens has altered plans for its new offshore wind turbine hub in northeast England to bring blade production onto a single site in Hull – a move it said will boost output by one-third.
The German group will submit new proposals to locate its blade factory on the same site at Hull’s Alexander Dock as the 6MW turbine assembly and service facilities already planned for the site.
Siemens said the move will allow the blade plant – originally earmarked for a separate site at Paull, a few kilometres away – to increase annual output from 450 to 600 “in order to export blades beyond UK waters”.
The overall project commitment to invest £310m ($484m) and create 1,000 direct jobs is unchanged, said the German group.
A single site was its preferred first option, said Siemens, “but before a recent redesign there was just not quite enough space.
“However by developing the production concept, the blade factory footprint has been reduced, whilst increasing production output.”
Siemens project director, Finbarr Dowling, said: “By deploying the latest manufacturing technologies and adopting LEAN principles from the outset we have been able to design our new blade plant to have 20% higher output in a plant which is 15% smaller than the original design.
“It is exactly this type of continuous improvement that will enable us to industrialise the manufacturing of offshore wind turbines. This will lead to a reduction in the cost base of offshore wind and ensure that the industry, and in particular our new world class plant in Hull will be competitive into the future.”
The Hull plant – due to be operating at full capacity in 2017 – was hailed as a landmark for the UK offshore wind industry when Siemens confirmed its plans for the Alexandra Dock site in March this year.
The offshore wind hub will serve major projects off the UK’s east coast and is the first major mass-production fruit of the country’s world-leading offshore wind build-out.
Hull City Council has already approved original plans for the Siemens plant as part of the Green Port Hull project being developed by Associated British Ports.
Fierce rival Vestas last week said it may begin blade production for it V164 8MW turbine on the Isle of Wight in southern England.