Local planning authorities in the UK have approved General Electric (GE) Renewable Energy’s offshore wind blade manufacturing plant in Teesside. The approval marks the first major milestone in the lead up to the company’s production of its state-of-the-art facility in the area (South Bank of Teesworks).
GE Renewable Energy expects construction of the plant to begin in late 2021 once the contractual documents have been finalised.
What Does This Mean for GE Renewable Energy?
The new facility will be operated by LM Wind Power, who will be dedicated to the production of its 107-meter-long offshore wind turbine blades. These blades will be a key component to GE’s Haliade-X, which is said to be the most powerful offshore wind turbine built today.
“We are delighted to have received this important approval from the Local Planning Authorities and are thankful for the collaboration between all parties involved, including Teesworks and the South Tees Development Corporation. There is still a lot of work in front of us but this an important milestone for the construction and future opening of the facility. We are proud of the contribution we will be making in rejuvenating this industrial cluster and helping it play a key role in future of renewable energy,” said Olivier Fontan, President & CEO of LM Wind Power (a GE Renewable Energy business).
“It’s fantastic news that this mammoth project has passed the planning hurdle and is on course to be up and running by 2023, helping to create thousands of well-paid, good-quality jobs for people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool. Once completed, it will play a central role in our ambitions to become a powerhouse in the growing UK offshore wind sector and add a huge amount to our clean energy credentials. In the short-term, we can now get spades in the ground and give a vital post-pandemic boost to our construction sector,” added Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor.
GE plans to start recruitment for the plant in mid-2022, which it estimates will create 750 direct positions, while an additional 1,500 jobs will be indirectly created to support the entire supply chain.
When production commences at the facility, the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm will benefit from the blades produced. When complete in 2026, Dogger Bank will have a combined installed generation capacity of 3.6GW (enough to power six million UK homes); it will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
“We anticipate the vast majority of the roles in our new factory to be filled by local workers who will be given training through the LM Centre of Excellence, where they will be fully upskilled on blade manufacturing techniques. These highly skilled operator roles are key to the success of the plant, and we are ready to leverage the knowledge and experience of our global LM Wind Power team with the manufacturing pedigree of the Tees region,” said Andrew Bellamy, LM Wind Power UK General Manager.
“This important milestone brings us a step closer to the installation of UK-manufactured turbine blades on the world’s largest offshore wind farm. We’re proud to be the anchor project for this world-leading LM Wind Power facility, which offers long-term benefits to Teesside and the wider UK supply chain,” concluded Steve Wilson, Dogger Bank Wind Farm Project Director.