After consulting with our partners Associated British Ports, Siemens has announced plans to incorporate a leaner, more efficient wind turbine blade manufacturing facility at Green Port Hull, by developing on a single site at Alexandra Dock in Hull.
The commitment to create 1,000 direct jobs through the £310 million investment on the Humber is unchanged.The revised plans will allow the blade plant to sit alongside the wind turbine assembly and servicing facilities being developed at Alexandra Dock.
The amended plans will allow for an increase in production from the initial proposal of 450 blades a year to 600 in order to export blades beyond UK waters. The decision to revise plans is part of Siemens ongoing desire to continue to make its processes and products as productive and cost effective as possible.
As pioneers of the new generation of nacelles (wind turbines) and based on lessons learned from other blade factories around the globe, detailed plans will be submitted shortly to house the blade factory and all facilities in one site at Alexandra Dock, instead of the previously proposed blade manufacturing facility in nearby Paull.
The previous plan was driven by the size of factory needed to build, transport and store blades at least 75m long. The idea of being on one site was always preferred 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.
Being based on one site has many operational benefits, which collectively make a contribution to reducing the overall cost of a completely new UK industry.
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.
“Work has already begun on Alexandra Dock, preparing the area for the building of our new facilities. This announcement underlines our long term commitment to the Humber region and the UK offshore wind industry.”
ABP Director Humber, John Fitzgerald said: “Siemens’ decision to consolidate their operations at Alexandra Dock is a progressive one in an industry which needs to maximise 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.
“The UK offshore wind sector needs a thriving supply base and our development plans for Paull continue to progress. We look forward to working closely with Siemens to promote Hull and the Paull site as a cluster of suppliers serving the offshore wind industry, and creating additional jobs in a new industry centred on the Humber.”
Siemens is a significant UK employer with 13,760 employees, including around 2,000 employees in its renewable businesses.