Gordon Brown has launched the construction of the Clipper Windpower windfarm component factory which will develop and build the largest wind turbine blades in the world.
The Prime Minister broke the ground at the Newcastle site of Clipper Windpower’s Neptune Blade Facility, which will create 500 green jobs in the North East.
Measuring 72m and weighing more than 30t, the blades will be used for Clipper’s 10MW offshore wind turbine prototype known as the Britannia Project.
Brown said: “This is an area which had a shipbuilding industry which was renowned throughout the world, respected for the standard of craftmanship, and the skill of the work done here that was sold to the rest of the world. Now again we have the opportunity to lead the world from the North East.
“Now again we have the opportunity to lead the world from the North East.”
“This is a new industry where Britain can be number one in the world and where the technologies constructed here can be built, developed and constructed and then sent out to the world from the Tyne.”
Clipper’s 13km² factory will be built at the Shepherd Offshore Renewable Energy Park, recently constructed on the banks of the River Tyne.
It will be the UK’s first offshore wind turbine blade manufacturing facility when it opens in the third quarter of 2010, and the Britannia Project prototype one of the largest turbines under development by the worldwide wind turbine industry.
Developers have said the prototype should be ready for deployment in late 2012, and the offshore facility will be funded by part of a £4.46M grant awarded to Clipper by the Department of Energy and Climate Change last September.