Siemens has revised its plans to build new offshore wind production plants in England, deciding to develop on one site instead of two. The company says its previously announced commitment to create 1,000 direct jobs at the facilities remains unchanged.
In March, the company revealed it was teaming up with Associated British Ports (ABP) on the Green Port Hull project, which aimed to build a blade factory for 6 MW offshore turbines in Paull and establish nearby turbine assembly and servicing facilities at Alexandra Dock in Hull.
Under the revised plans, the blade plant will also be built at Alexandra Dock.
John Fitzgerald, director of ABP, comments, "Siemens' decision to consolidate their operations at Alexandra Dock is a progressive one in an industry which needs to maximize efficiency and reduce costs. Together with our land at Paull, ABP has plenty of capacity to accommodate further participants in the supply chain for offshore wind manufacturing."
Siemens says the previous plan was driven by the size of factory needed to build, transport and store blades at least 75 meters long. The company notes that it always preferred the idea of building on a single site, but there was just not quite enough space.
However, Siemens claims changes to its production process will allow the company to reduce the blade factory's footprint while increasing production output from 450 blades per year to 600 per year.
"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 percent higher output in a plant which is 15 percent smaller than the original design," says Finbarr Dowling, Siemens' project director.
"It is exactly this type of continuous improvement that will enable us to industrialize the manufacturing of offshore wind turbines," Dowling continues. "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."