GE Renewable Energy
has received official planning approval for its Teesside offshore wind blade manufacturing plant. This is the first major milestone in the lead up to the construction of the ‘state of the art’ facility on the South Bank of Teesworks.
The plant construction should begin later in 2021 upon the finalisation of all contractual documents. As previously announced, LM Wind Power
will operate the facility which will be dedicated to the production of its 107m-long offshore wind turbine blades, a key component of GE’s Haliade-X, the most powerful offshore wind turbine built today.
Olivier Fontan, President and CEO of LM Wind Power, a GE Renewable Energy business, said: “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.”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “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.”
Recruitment for the plant is scheduled to begin in mid-2022, with an estimated 750 direct positions to be filled. An additional 1,500 indirect jobs would be created to support the entire supply chain around the factory.
Andrew Bellamy, LM Wind Power UK feneral manager, said: “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.”
When production starts, the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm would benefit directly from the blades produced at this new plant. The three phases of the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, powered by GE’s Haliade-X offshore wind turbine, will have a combined installed generation capacity of 3.6 GW, enough to power six million UK homes. When complete in 2026, Dogger Bank will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
Steve Wilson, Dogger Bank Wind Farm project director, said: “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 are 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.”